Identifying research priorities in HPB cancer surgery: a modified Delphi process


Session type:

Samir Pathak1,Stephen Knight2,Alan Christie3,Louise Jones4,Jonathan Rees5,Ewen Harrison6,Mark Taylor7
1Bristol Royal Infirmary,2Usher Institute, University of Edinburgh,3Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh,4University Hospital Aintree,5bristol Royal Infirmary,6Usher Institure, University of Edinburgh,7Mater Hospital



A Delphi approach can be used to develop consensus opinion within a group of experts in a particular field. A similar process has been performed previously for Colorectal surgery, with selected research questions successful in achieving nine pump-priming and two NIHR HTA grants. We aimed to use the Delphi technique to prioritise clinical research questions in HPB surgery


Three prioritisation rounds were performed using the AUGIS membership. Research questions were initially collected (Round 1), followed by two consecutive rounds of prioritisation by multidisciplinary HPB experts (Rounds 2 & 3) to create a final list of highly prioritised research questions.

A multidisciplinary steering committee containing patient representation analysed the results of each round to focus responses and identify those questions ranked as being of highest priority


Ninety-three HPB-focussed questions were identified after round 1 and moved forward for prioritisation by voting and analysis, with thirty-eight questions selected by the membership to undergo reprioritisation in the concluding round.


A final group of 11 highly prioritised questions were produced, of which nine (81%) were cancer focussed. These covered a wide-range of topics across pancreatic and liver cancer; including screening, surgical techniques, patient pathways and the oncological management of tumours.


It is anticipated that this modified Delphi approach has identified and set research priorities in HPB cancer surgery and set a national agenda over the coming years using expert consensus. Funding applications, together with well-designed, high quality and collaborative research, are now required to answer these questions.