Patients diagnosed with cancer are often plagued with debilitating side effects post-chemotherapy treatment. One such side effect is chemotherapy-induced cognitive impairment or ‘chemobrain’. Rodent models are commonly used to investigate pathogenesis and potential therapeutic strategies. However, concerns have been raised regarding inadequacies in reporting of animal studies rendering them unreliable and irreproducible. The aim of this systematic review was to assess compliance with the ARRIVE reporting guidelines in peer-reviewed publications evaluating chemotherapy-induced cognitive changes in rodent models, and to determine if the introduction of the ARRIVE guidelines has improved quality of reporting. A comprehensive search was conducted to identify relevant peer-reviewed publications. Ninety-seven studies met the eligibility criteria, and publication compliance with the ARRIVE guideline reporting was assessed. No studies achieved full adherence with the ARRIVE guidelines. Furthermore, no significant improvement was demonstrated in the overall compliance score post-ARRIVE. Given the lack of standardisation of animal models in this research area, these results pose particular threat to future progress and translation of findings in this area of research. These results highlight the need for stricter adherence to the ARRIVE guidelines by journal editors and reviewers. Animal Ethics Committees also have an important educative role in improving knowledge and awareness of the guidelines amongst researchers.
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This review was conducted with no external funding. ALW was supported by a NHMRC Peter Doherty Biomedical Research Fellowship (APP1140072). RPG was supported by an Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship.
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George, R.P., Semendric, I., Bowley-Schubert, E.R. et al. Reporting in rodent models of ‘chemobrain’: a systematic review assessing compliance with the ARRIVE guidelines. Support Care Cancer 29, 7073–7084 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00520-021-06312-8