Working Procedures


4. Data for the IARC Handbooks

Each Handbook considers all pertinent intervention trials and observational epidemiological studies, and all relevant cancer bioassays in experimental animals. Those studies that are judged by the Working Group to be uninformative for the evaluation (e.g. because of methodological limitations or small numbers) may be cited but not summarized. When such studies are not reviewed, the reasons are indicated.

Mechanistic and other relevant data are also reviewed. A Handbook does not necessarily cite all the mechanistic literature concerning the intervention being evaluated (see Part B, Section 4). Only those data considered by the Working Group to be relevant to making an evaluation are included.

With regard to intervention trials, epidemiological studies, cancer bioassays, and mechanistic and other relevant data, in the interests of transparency, only reports that have been published or accepted for publication in the openly available peer-reviewed scientific literature are reviewed. The same publication requirement applies to studies originating from IARC, including meta-analyses or pooled analyses commissioned by IARC in advance of a meeting (see Part B, Section 2c). Data from government-agency reports that are publicly available in final form are also considered. Exceptionally, doctoral theses and other material that are in their final form and publicly available may be reviewed.

Data on exposure and other information on an intervention under consideration are also reviewed. In the sections on chemical and physical properties, on analysis, on production and use, and on occurrence and exposure, the Working Group may consider published and unpublished sources of information.

In some cases it may be appropriate to review only the data published subsequent to a previous evaluation; this can be useful for updating a database, to resolve a previously open question, or to identify new organ sites associated with a protective effect of the intervention. Major changes (e.g. large body of additional data that may lead to a new classification, see Part B, Section 6) are more appropriately addressed by a full review and re-evaluation of the entire body of data.

Inclusion of a study does not imply acceptance of the adequacy of the study design or of the authors’ analysis and interpretation of the results; any limitations noted by the Working Group are clearly outlined in square brackets at the end of each study description (see Part B). The reasons for not giving further consideration to an individual study also are indicated in the square brackets.


Posted 5 July 2016