Nevin Manimala Statistics

Adjusting for publication bias in meta-analysis via inverse probability weighting using clinical trial registries

Biometrics. 2023 Jan 5. doi: 10.1111/biom.13822. Online ahead of print.


Publication bias is a major concern in conducting systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Various sensitivity analysis or bias-correction methods have been developed based on selection models, and they have some advantages over the widely used trim-and-fill bias-correction method. However, likelihood methods based on selection models may have difficulty in obtaining precise estimates and reasonable confidence intervals, or require a rather complicated sensitivity analysis process. Herein, we develop a simple publication bias adjustment method by utilizing the information on conducted but still unpublished trials from clinical trial registries. We introduce an estimating equation for parameter estimation in the selection function by regarding the publication bias issue as a missing data problem under the missing not at random assumption. With the estimated selection function, we introduce the inverse probability weighting (IPW) method to estimate the overall mean across studies. Furthermore, the IPW versions of heterogeneity measures such as the between-study variance and the measure are proposed. We propose methods to construct confidence intervals based on asymptotic normal approximation as well as on parametric bootstrap. Through numerical experiments, we observed that the estimators successfully eliminated bias, and the confidence intervals had empirical coverage probabilities close to the nominal level. On the other hand, the confidence interval based on asymptotic normal approximation is much wider in some scenarios than the bootstrap confidence interval. Therefore, the latter is recommended for practical use. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

PMID:36602873 | DOI:10.1111/biom.13822

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