AMED, Academic Research Database Repository, BIOM, BIOSIS Previews, British Library Integrated Catalogue, British Nursing Index, CINAHL, The Cochrane Library, Current Controlled Trials, Dissertation Abstracts Online, DARE, EMBASE, MEDLINE, ReFeR, HSRProj, IBSS, Index to Theses, UKCCCR National Register of Cancer Trials, NRR, Web of Knowledge, ProQuest, Zetoc and the National Cancer Research Network website were searched from 1990 for publications in any language. No end date of the search was reported; the most recent included paper was published in 2005. Several other websites and conference proceedings were searched. Search terms were reported. The bibliography of each retrieved article was handsearched. Gray literature was included. Radiotherapy managers, oncologists and oncology nurses in UK, pharmaceutical companies and the authors of key papers were contacted and a posting was placed on a relevant research group website in order to access further studies. Studies published before 1990 were excluded. Financial constraints prevented translation of all foreign language papers.