Create Your Own Lung Cancer PubMed Search

The real value of broad topic search filters lies in their ability to be combined with the searcher’s own, much more specific, topic of interest.

If your topic of interest is not available as either a NSCLC PubMed search or a Lung Cancer and Palliative Care PubMed search, follow the simple instructions below to create your own search using one of the lung cancer search filters.


  1. Click on one of the following links to launch a lung cancer search filter in the PubMed database:
  2. The results of this search are now displayed within PubMed. Clear the PubMed search box by clicking on the cross (x) symbol at the far right hand side of the box. 
  3. Now enter the search term(s) best describing your topic of interest in the search box. Use OR to combine similar concepts and broaden the search (eg, analgesia OR analgesics). Use AND to restrict the search to citations containing all your concepts (eg, symptom burden AND depression). 
  4. Click on SEARCH. The results of your search are now displaying, but not yet in combination with the lung cancer part of the search. The next step is to combine both parts of the search. 
  5. Click on the 'Advanced' link just under the PubMed search box. This takes you to the Search History screen.
  6. Find the set number with the lung cancer search filter results click on Add in the 'Add to builder' column.
  7. Then click on the set number to the left of the results set for your own topic search and again click on Add in the Add to builder column. 
  8. Both search results sets should be showing in the PubMed Advanced Search box at the top of the screen linked by AND. 
  9. Click on SEARCH.

Removing the high level evidence restriction

Each of the three lung cancer search filters restricts results to high level evidence only (ie, systematic reviews and randomised controlled trials). If this is not appropriate, you can remove this methodological search component after step 1 by doing the following:

  1. Once you've launched one of the lung cancer search filters, click anywhere in the PubMed search box where the search strategy is showing.
  2. Use the 'End' button on your keyboard or scroll to the very end of the search strategy
  3. Carefully delete the following part of the search strategy (i.e. the methodological search component)
    • AND (meta analysis[pt] OR meta analysis[tiab] OR meta analysis[mh] OR review[pt] OR search*[tiab] OR randomized controlled trial[pt] OR randomized[tw] OR placebo[tiab])
  4. Click on SEARCH to rerun the search filter without the high level evidence restriction in play. Note the number of citations it retrieves to make it easier to distinguish between search sets further on. 
  5. Return to the instructions above at step 2.  

Applying your own search limits

You can limit your final search results to a range of parameters using the PubMed 'Limits' option located just beneath the search box. Useful options include English language, free full text only and a date range.

Note: Take care when applying the Humans limit as this eliminates newly added citations still awaiting Medline subject heading indexing.