This month we have invited Annika Hoyer from Bielefeld University to give a talk titled "Meta-Analysis of Diagnostic Test Accuracy Studies – Statistical Insights and Practical Applications"
While methods for meta-analysis, i.e., the weighted summary of the results of several studies, are meanwhile routinely used in the context of intervention studies, there is still a need for newly developed statistical approaches for meta-analysis of diagnostic test accuracys tudies. This is due to the complex underlying data structure with an at least bivariate outcome consisting of sensitivity and specificity. Thereby, sensitivity and specificity refer to the conditional probabilities of a positive or negative test result in the population of diseased and non-diseased, respectively.
A particular challenge arises when individual studies report not only a pair of sensitivity and specificity, but complete receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves, in which sensitivity and specificity are evaluated at several different diagnostic thresholds. One way to appropriately deal with these data is to adapt statistical methods from survival analysis, such as the application of bivariate time-to-event models for interval-censored data.
In this talk, the general framework of the meta-analysis of diagnostic test accuracy studies will be presented with special respect to statistical challenges and practical applications. Furthermore, newly developed, innovative methods for the complex situation of meta-analysis of ROC curves will be introduced and discussed.