• Open Access

A sensitivity analysis framework for the treatment effect measure used in the meta-analysis of comparative binary data from randomised controlled trials


Correspondence to: Dan Jackson, MRC Biostatistics Unit, Cambridge, U.K.



The process of undertaking a meta-analysis involves a sequence of decisions, one of which is deciding which measure of treatment effect to use. In particular, for comparative binary data from randomised controlled trials, a wide variety of measures are available such as the odds ratio and the risk difference. It is often of interest to know whether important conclusions would have been substantively different if an alternative measure had been used. Here we develop a new type of sensitivity analysis that incorporates standard measures of treatment effect. Thus, rather than examining the implications of a variety of measures in an ad hoc manner, we can simultaneously examine an entire family of possibilities, including the odds ratio, the arcsine difference and the risk difference. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.