Background and objectives: The 57 countries of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) are experiencing rapid increases in their burden of cancer. The First Ladies Against Cancer meeting at the 2016 OIC meeting in Istanbul committed to the importance of cancer control and the need for more evidence to support national cancer control planning (NCCP). Strong research systems are a crucial aspect of NCCP, but few data exist to support policy-makers across this political grouping
Methodology: We identified all cancer research papers from OIC countries in the Web of Science from 2008 to 2017 with a filter based on journal names and title words, with high precision and recall. We analysed the country outputs, the cancer sites investigated, the types of research, sources of funding and the citations to the papers.
Results: There were 49,712 cancer research papers over this period. The leading countries in terms of output were Turkey, Iran, Egypt and Malaysia, but the most cited papers were from Qatar, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia. International collaboration was low, except in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. The site-specific cancers accounting for most research were breast and blood, correlating with their disease burden in the OIC countries, but lung, cervical and oesophageal cancers were relatively under-researched. Most funding from within the OIC countries was from their own university sector.
Conclusion: Cancer is seriously under-researched in most of the OIC countries. This will undermine the ability of these countries and OIC as a whole to deliver on better cancer control for their populations. New policies, OIC leadership and funding are urgently needed to address this situation.