Evidence synthesis in prognosis research

Debray TPA, de Jong VMT, Moons KGM, Riley RD

Over the past few years, evidence synthesis has become essential to investigate and improve the generalizability of medical research findings. This strategy often involves a meta-analysis to formally summarize quantities of interest, such as relative treatment effect estimates. The use of meta-analysis methods is, however, less straightforward in prognosis research because substantial variation exists in research objectives, analysis methods and the level of reported evidence.

We present a gentle overview of statistical methods that can be used to summarize data of prognostic factor and prognostic model studies. We discuss how aggregate data, individual participant data, or a combination thereof can be combined through meta-analysis methods. Recent examples are provided throughout to illustrate the various methods.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

CC BY 4.0