A new study highlights the recent history of oncology nurse-led research, in addition to areas of opportunity for collaboration. Results of the study were reported in the journal Cancer Nursing.

The study was a bibliometric analysis of research led by oncology nurses, with articles identified through 3 databases and having publication dates from January 1, 2004, to March 11, 2022. A variety of search terms were used to identify relevant articles. The researchers conducting the study examined article characteristics to detect trends in publication.

A total of 7043 articles were included in the analysis, 85.8% of which were published in English. Included articles had an average time from publication of 7.31 years, an average of 14.39 citations per article, and an average of 1.7 citations per year per article. A total of 23,701 authors were included across the full set of articles. A source of funding support was provided in 28.6% of the articles. There appeared to be a tendency of an increase in nurse-led publications over time.

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The most prominent areas of focus for oncology nurse-led research in this analysis were palliative care, breast cancer, and qualitative research, and this was consistent over time. Several other topics were also frequently mentioned. However, topics not commonly mentioned in publications included cancer prevention, cancer rehabilitation, breaking bad news, patient-centered care, and others.

The authors represented 101 countries across the included articles. The 5 countries with the most publications were the United States, with 2294 publications; the United Kingdom, with 535 publications; China, with 439 publications; Australia, with 346 publications; and Canada, with 346 publications.

The United States also ranked first in a finding of nurse-led cancer research collaborations. Cooperation across countries was strongest between the United States and Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia, and the United States and South Korea, while strong cooperation was also seen between certain European countries. However, cooperation was generally considered weak for low- or middle-income countries.

Overall, the researchers concluded that nurse-led cancer research has been increasing over time. “However, areas to consider for future research might be increased international collaborations on commonly agreed research agendas, capacity building, geographically balanced research, wider availability of funding, and focus on important topics that currently receive less attention (ie, rebalancing the research agenda),” the researchers wrote.

They also pointed out that cancer rates in low- and middle-income countries are increasing, highlighting a need to increase attention in research in these areas.


Molassiotis A, Yorke J, McCarthy AL, Wengstrom Y, Gibson F, Abu-Odah H. The evolution of worldwide nurse-led cancer research in the last 2 decades (2004-2022): a bibliometric mapping and visual analysis. Cancer Nurs. Published online August 7, 2023. doi:10.1097/NCC.0000000000001260