AffiliationDepartment of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Berne, Berne, Switzerland. firstname.lastname@example.org
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AbstractMeta-analysis, the statistical combination of results from several studies to produce a single estimate of a treatment effect or size of an association, continues to attract controversy. We illustrate and discuss the promises and limitations of meta-analysis. Meta-analysis of clinical trials can prevent delays in the introduction of effective treatments or lead to the timely identification of adverse effects. However, meta-analyses are liable to numerous biases, both at the level of the individual study and the selection of studies for inclusion in meta-analysis. The biases and confounding factors that threaten the validity of individual studies will also affect meta-analyses of observational studies. We argue that meta-analyses should only be performed within the framework of systematic reviews that have been prepared using methods that minimize bias and address the combinability of studies.
CitationMeta-analysis in medical research: potentials and limitations., 26 (3):320-9 Urol. Oncol.