Background: Brain tumours comprise a diverse group of neoplasms arising from different cells of the central nervous system. They are the second leading cause of death due to neurologic disease among adults and the second most common neoplasm in children. However, most data on their burden and outcome are derived from developed countries with a paucity of information from low- and middle-income countries.
Objectives: To determine the best available evidence on the incidence and prevalence of brain tumours in low- and middle-income countries.
Inclusion criteria: This review will consider hospital and community-based observational studies that include patients with histologically confirmed brain tumours and report on the incidence or prevalence of the condition.
Search strategy: An initial limited search of MEDLINE and EMBASE will be undertaken followed by analysis of the text words contained in the title and abstract, and of the index terms used to describe the article. A second search using all identified keywords and index terms will then be undertaken across all included databases. Thirdly, the reference list of all identified reports and articles will be searched for additional studies.
Methodological quality: Papers selected for retrieval will be assessed by two independent reviewers for methodological validity prior to inclusion in the review using a standardised critical-appraisal instrument.
Data extraction: Data will be extracted from papers included in the review using a standardised data extraction tool. The data extracted will include specific details about the populations, study methods and measures of significance to the review objectives, i.e. prevalence and incidence estimates expressed as proportions.
Data synthesis: Where possible, prevalence/incidence data will be pooled in statistical meta-analysis using a random effects model after logit transformation.Where statistical pooling is not possible, the findings will be presented in narrative form including tables and figures to aid in data presentation where appropriate.