Meta-analysis of Clinical Trials

Junfeng Sun, Bradley D. Freeman, Charles Natanson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Meta-analysis has become a popular approach for summarizing a large number of clinical trials and resolving discrepancies raised by these trials. In this chapter, we introduce the general procedures for meta-analysis: formulating the question, defining eligibility, identifying studies, abstracting data, statistical analysis, and reporting the results. One key issue determining whether studies can be combined is the extent of heterogeneity among individual studies. We review graphical and statistical tools for assessing heterogeneity, describing the fixed-effect and random-effect models commonly used in meta-analysis, and providing some general recommendations regarding when fixed-effect or random-effect approach is appropriate. Publication bias is an inherent issue with meta-analysis, since studies (especially smaller ones) with "negative" results are frequently unpublished. Funnel plot, Begg and Mazumdar's rank correlation, and Egger regression are useful tools for assessing publication bias. As an illustration of the concepts discussed, we apply meta-analysis techniques to studies examining the use of antiinflammatory therapies in sepsis.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPrinciples and Practice of Clinical Research
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9780128499054
StatePublished - 2018


  • Clinical trials
  • Fixed-effect model
  • Heterogeneity
  • Meta-analysis
  • Metaregression
  • Publication bias
  • Random-effect model


Dive into the research topics of 'Meta-analysis of Clinical Trials'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this