A regression-based method for detecting publication bias in multivariate meta-analysis

by   Chuan Hong, et al.

Publication bias occurs when the publication of research results depends not only on the quality of the research but also on its nature and direction. The consequence is that published studies may not be truly representative of all valid studies undertaken, and this bias may threaten the validity of systematic reviews and meta-analyses - on which evidence-based medicine increasingly relies. Multivariate meta-analysis has recently received increasing attention for its ability reducing potential bias and improving statistical efficiency by borrowing information across outcomes. However, detecting and accounting for publication bias are more challenging in multivariate meta-analysis setting because some studies may be completely unpublished whereas some studies may selectively report part of multiple outcomes. In this paper, we propose a score test for jointly testing publication bias for multiple outcomes, which is novel to the multivariate setting. The proposed test is a natural multivariate extension of the univariate Egger's test, and can handle the above mentioned scenarios simultaneously, It accounts for correlations among multivariate outcomes, while allowing different types of outcomes, and can borrow information across outcomes. The proposed test is shown to be more powerful than the Egger's test, Begg's test and Trim and Fill method through simulation studies. Two data analyses are given to illustrate the performance of the proposed test in practice.


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