Likelihood ratio meta-analysis: New motivation and approach for an old method
A 95% confidence interval (CI) in an updated meta-analysis may not have the expected 95% coverage. If a metaanalysis is simply updated with additional data, then the resulting 95% CI will be wrong because it will not have accounted for the fact that the earlier meta-analysis failed or succeeded to exclude the null. This situation can be avoided by using the likelihood ratio (LR) as a measure of evidence that does not depend on type-1 error. We show how an LR-based approach, first advanced by Goodman, can be used in a meta-analysis to pool data from separate studies to quantitatively assess where the total evidence points. The method works by estimating the log-likelihood ratio (LogLR) function from each study. Those functions are then summed to obtain a combined function, which is then used to retrieve the total effect estimate, and a corresponding ‘intrinsic’ confidence interval. Using as illustrations the CAPRIE trial of clopidogrel versus aspirin in the prevention of ischemic events, and our own meta-analysis of higher potency statins and the risk of acute kidney injury, we show that the LRbased method yields the same point estimate as the traditional analysis, but with an intrinsic confidence interval that is appropriately wider than the traditional 95% CI. The LR-based method can be used to conduct both fixed effect and random effects meta-analyses, it can be applied to old and new meta-analyses alike, and results can be presented in a format that is familiar to a meta-analytic audience.
Dormuth C, Filion KB, Platt RW. Likelihood Ratio Meta-analysis: New Motivation and Approach for an Old Method. Contemp Clin Trials. 2016 Mar;47:259-65.