Background: Most Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries record pancreatic cancer incidence rates that are above the world’s average. Reducing this burden requires evidence-based policies. This bibliometric review aims to examine the status of pancreatic cancer research in the MENA world, while systematically categorising publications across cancer care pathways.
Methods: We searched Scopus, Medline and PubMed for peer-reviewed publications related to both pancreatic cancer and MENA countries by using controlled vocabulary and keywords. The results were screened for duplicates and later included in the analysis based on preset eligibility criteria. A structured data extraction form was used to collect data related to each article, its methodology, its cancer care pathway, funding status and authorship.
Results: A total of 5,848 publications resulted from our search, from which 1,098 articles remained after applying the eligibility criteria. Trends show a steady increase in pancreatic cancer research by MENA. Case reports are the most common, whereas a lack in high-evidence clinical studies as well as public health and epidemiological research was evident. Most studies were not funded and had no female contributions. Funding, if present, came mostly from foreign states. There exists a much greater focus in research on diagnosis and treatment among other cancer care pathways. Most MENA-based studies did not involve collaborations with other countries. Country gross domestic product and population are both correlated to the research output.
Conclusion: This bibliometric analysis identified significant gaps and limitations in pancreatic cancer research in MENA countries. Vital domains requiring research investment have also been highlighted as a first step towards evidence-based health policies.