How to Interpret Numeric Results in Publications?

  • Laurence ColletteEmail author


Massive amounts of new literature are published each year, providing varied levels of evidence to the medical urology community. Despite the peer-review processes in place with most journals and congresses and in spite of the widespread adoption of international reporting guidelines such as CONSORT, the new evidence is unfortunately not always objectively and unbiasedly presented. Intentional or more often, unintentional misuse or misinterpretation of statistical evidence, inadequate trial methodology, the natural tendency of humans to seek confirmation of their prior beliefs and to give more focus to the more statistically significant findings are the most common flaws in the medical literature. In this chapter, we will illustrate some of these pitfalls, with the aim to exercise the reader to using their critical thinking when appraising published research findings. We will use published reports comparing therapeutic interventions against prostate cancer as examples because modern clinical trials are becoming increasingly complex and therefore more difficult to appraise for the non-statistically trained reader.


Prostate Cancer Radical Prostatectomy Androgen Deprivation Therapy Advanced Prostate Cancer Biochemical Failure 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer, Headquarters, Statistics DepartmentBrusselsBelgium

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