Cancer Research in the Arab World : A review of publications from seven countries between 2000–2013

Randah R. Hamadeh, Saif M. Borgan, Abla M. Sibai


This review aimed to examine trends in cancer research in the Arab world and identify existing research gaps. A search of the MEDLINE® database (National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, Maryland, USA) was undertaken for all cancer-related publications published between January 2000 and December 2013 from seven countries, including Bahrain, Kuwait, Iraq, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine and Sudan. A total of 1,773 articles were identified, with a significant increase in yearly publications over time (P <0.005). Only 30.6% of the publications included subjects over the age of 50 years old. There was a dearth of cross-sectional/correlational studies (8.8%), randomised controlled trials (2.4%) and systematic reviews/meta-analyses (1.3%). Research exploring cancer associations mainly considered social and structural determinants of health (27.1%), followed by behavioural risk factors (14.1%), particularly tobacco use. Overall, more cancer research is needed in the Arab world, particularly analytical studies with high-quality evidence and those focusing on older age groups and associations with physical activity and diet.


Chronic Diseases; Cancer; Research; Publications; Arab World.

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Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, PO Box 35, Postal Code 123, Al-Khod, Muscat, Oman

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