Research Bursary Program
Supervisor Project Proposal for Summer 2015
Supervisor Last Name: Bernatsky
Supervisor First Name: Sasha
McGill Dept/School: Medicine
Faculty Professor (Full, Associate or Assistant): Associate
Email: [email protected]
Phone No. (optional):
Research Field: Clinical Epidemiology
Proposal No. (1 or 2): 1
Research Location (McGill or affiliated institution): MUHC
Ethics approval will be required for proposed project (Yes/No): no
Proposed project will involve chart reviews (Yes/No): No
Project Title (maximum 1 line): Lung cancer risk in RA
Hypothesis/Question to be Addressed (maximum 4 lines): Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic systemic
autoimmune inflammatory disease, affecting 1% of the developed world. Patients with RA have high co-morbidity.
We hypothesize that there is an increased risk of lung cancer in patients with RA, versus the general population.
Specific Aims (maximum 10 lines): The specific aim is to perform a systematic review and synthesis of existing
knowledge to understand the risk of lung cancer in patients with RA. Our working hypothesis is that the incidence
of lung cancers in RA is higher than that the general population. Our search strategy will cover the time period
from 1st January 2007 to 24 July 2015. We will search 2 electronic databases (i.e., PubMed and EMBASE) seeking
to identify all original English and French studies. The search will also include screening of bibliographies in
relevant primary studies and review articles. After pooling citations from these databases, and after removing
duplicates, identified citations will be reviewed for a final selection. Only observational cohort studies will be
included. All full-text articles, abstracts, letters, brief reports published will be included, provided complete
information can be extracted from them. The articles that meet our inclusion criteria will screened to determine if
they provided the necessary data (observed and expected numbers of cancer) in patients with RA or information
that would allow us to discern these.
Role of Student (maximum 15 lines): The role of the student will be to work with his/her supervisor and the
research librarian to refine the search strategy, perform the search the literature for pertinent studies, and screen
those articles identified, to determine if they meet inclusion criteria. The student will then abstract information
from the relevant studies and process the information. A primary simple pooled analysis will be conducted where
the total number of cancers observed across all studies will be summed. The same will be done for the expected
number of malignancies. The ratio of the total observed divided by the total expected represents the pooled SIR.
Standard incidence ratios will be calculated with 95% confidence intervals. The student will then interpret the
study results, and prepare them for submission as an abstract for at least one scientific research meeting, and
then prepare an original research article for submission to a scientific journal. This project would best suit a
student who is interested in research and strongly motivated to finish the project so that he or she will have the
satisfaction of presenting their research as a poster and hopefully publishing the results in a peer-reviewed
journal. During the summer the student will be part of the Clinical Epidemiology Summer Research Seminar
series, where he or she will learn about other projects that students are doing in clinical epidemiology within our
division, and have the opportunity to present his/her research project in an informal, non-threatening setting, to
gain insights and ideas about different methodological approaches in clinical epidemiology.