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AuthorFuruya-Kanamori, Luis
AuthorXu, Chang
AuthorLin, Lifeng
AuthorDoan, Tinh
AuthorChu, Haitao
AuthorThalib, Lukman
AuthorDoi, Suhail A R
Available date2019-12-15T04:50:39Z
Publication Date2019-11-01
Publication NameJournal of Clinical Epidemiology
CitationL. Furuya-Kanamori et al. "P-value driven methods were underpowered to detect publication bias: analysis of Cochrane review meta-analyses" Journal of Clinical Epidemiology 118 (2020) 86e92
AbstractTo investigate the effect of number of studies in a meta-analysis on the detection of publication bias using p-value driven methods. The proportion of meta-analyses detected by Egger's, Harbord's, Peters', and Begg's tests to have asymmetry suggestive of publication bias were examined in 5014 meta-analyses from Cochrane reviews. P-values were also assessed in meta-analyses with varying number of studies, while symmetry was held constant. A simulation study was conducted to investigate if the above tests underestimate or overestimate the presence of publication bias. The proportion of meta-analyses detected as asymmetrical via Egger's, Harbord's, Peters', and Begg's tests decreased by 42.6%, 41.1%, 29.3%, and 28.3%, when the median number of studies in the meta-analysis decreased from 87 to 14. P-values decreased as the number of studies increased in the meta-analysis, despite the level of symmetry remaining constant. The simulation study confirmed that when publication bias is present, p-value tests underestimate the presence of publication bias, particularly when study numbers are small. P-value based tests used for detection of publication bias related asymmetry in meta-analysis require careful examination as they underestimate asymmetry. Alternative methods not dependent on the number of studies are preferable.
SponsorThis work was supported by Program Grant #NPRP10-0129-170274 from the Qatar National Research Fund (a member of Qatar Foundation). The findings herein reflect the work and are solely the responsibility of the authors. All authors had full access to all the data in the study, and the corresponding author had final responsibility for the decision to submit for publication. L.F.-K. was supported by an Australian National Health and Medical Research Council Fellowship (APP1158469)
Subjectpublication bias
TitleP-value driven methods were underpowered to detect publication bias: analysis of Cochrane review meta-analyses
Volume Number118

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