Impact of contacting study authors to obtain additional data for systematic reviews: Diagnostic accuracy studies for hepatic fibrosis

Shelley Selph, Alexander D. Ginsburg, Roger Chou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Seventeen of 172 included studies in a recent systematic review of blood tests for hepatic fibrosis or cirrhosis reported diagnostic accuracy results discordant from 2 × 2 tables, and 60 studies reported inadequate data to construct 2 × 2 tables. This study explores the yield of contacting authors of diagnostic accuracy studies and impact on the systematic review findings. Methods: Sixty-six corresponding authors were sent letters requesting additional information or clarification of data from 77 studies. Data received from the authors were synthesized with data included in the previous review, and diagnostic accuracy sensitivities, specificities, and positive and likelihood ratios were recalculated. Results: Of the 66 authors, 68% were successfully contacted and 42% provided additional data for 29 out of 77 studies (38%). All authors who provided data at all did so by the third emailed request (ten authors provided data after one request). Authors of more recent studies were more likely to be located and provide data compared to authors of older studies. The effects of requests for additional data on the conclusions regarding the utility of blood tests to identify patients with clinically significant fibrosis or cirrhosis were generally small for ten out of 12 tests. Additional data resulted in reclassification (using median likelihood ratio estimates) from less useful to moderately useful or vice versa for the remaining two blood tests and enabled the calculation of an estimate for a third blood test for which previously the data had been insufficient to do so. We did not identify a clear pattern for the directional impact of additional data on estimates of diagnostic accuracy. Conclusions: We successfully contacted and received results from 42% of authors who provided data for 38% of included studies. Contacting authors of studies evaluating the diagnostic accuracy of serum biomarkers for hepatic fibrosis and cirrhosis in hepatitis C patients impacted conclusions regarding diagnostic utility for two blood tests and enabled the calculation of an estimate for a third blood test. Despite relatively extensive efforts, we were unable to obtain data to resolve discrepancies or complete 2 × 2 tables for 62% of studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number107
JournalSystematic Reviews
Volume3
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 19 2014

Fingerprint

Hematologic Tests
Fibrosis
Liver
Hepatitis C
Liver Cirrhosis
Biomarkers
Sensitivity and Specificity
Serum

Keywords

  • Contacting study authors
  • Diagnosing hepatic fibrosis
  • Hepatitis C infection
  • Systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

@article{86facf23b9ce4d418a16b8547e18b996,
title = "Impact of contacting study authors to obtain additional data for systematic reviews: Diagnostic accuracy studies for hepatic fibrosis",
abstract = "Background: Seventeen of 172 included studies in a recent systematic review of blood tests for hepatic fibrosis or cirrhosis reported diagnostic accuracy results discordant from 2 × 2 tables, and 60 studies reported inadequate data to construct 2 × 2 tables. This study explores the yield of contacting authors of diagnostic accuracy studies and impact on the systematic review findings. Methods: Sixty-six corresponding authors were sent letters requesting additional information or clarification of data from 77 studies. Data received from the authors were synthesized with data included in the previous review, and diagnostic accuracy sensitivities, specificities, and positive and likelihood ratios were recalculated. Results: Of the 66 authors, 68{\%} were successfully contacted and 42{\%} provided additional data for 29 out of 77 studies (38{\%}). All authors who provided data at all did so by the third emailed request (ten authors provided data after one request). Authors of more recent studies were more likely to be located and provide data compared to authors of older studies. The effects of requests for additional data on the conclusions regarding the utility of blood tests to identify patients with clinically significant fibrosis or cirrhosis were generally small for ten out of 12 tests. Additional data resulted in reclassification (using median likelihood ratio estimates) from less useful to moderately useful or vice versa for the remaining two blood tests and enabled the calculation of an estimate for a third blood test for which previously the data had been insufficient to do so. We did not identify a clear pattern for the directional impact of additional data on estimates of diagnostic accuracy. Conclusions: We successfully contacted and received results from 42{\%} of authors who provided data for 38{\%} of included studies. Contacting authors of studies evaluating the diagnostic accuracy of serum biomarkers for hepatic fibrosis and cirrhosis in hepatitis C patients impacted conclusions regarding diagnostic utility for two blood tests and enabled the calculation of an estimate for a third blood test. Despite relatively extensive efforts, we were unable to obtain data to resolve discrepancies or complete 2 × 2 tables for 62{\%} of studies.",
keywords = "Contacting study authors, Diagnosing hepatic fibrosis, Hepatitis C infection, Systematic review",
author = "Shelley Selph and Ginsburg, {Alexander D.} and Roger Chou",
year = "2014",
month = "9",
day = "19",
doi = "10.1186/2046-4053-3-107",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "3",
journal = "Systematic Reviews",
issn = "2046-4053",
publisher = "BioMed Central",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Impact of contacting study authors to obtain additional data for systematic reviews

T2 - Diagnostic accuracy studies for hepatic fibrosis

AU - Selph, Shelley

AU - Ginsburg, Alexander D.

AU - Chou, Roger

PY - 2014/9/19

Y1 - 2014/9/19

N2 - Background: Seventeen of 172 included studies in a recent systematic review of blood tests for hepatic fibrosis or cirrhosis reported diagnostic accuracy results discordant from 2 × 2 tables, and 60 studies reported inadequate data to construct 2 × 2 tables. This study explores the yield of contacting authors of diagnostic accuracy studies and impact on the systematic review findings. Methods: Sixty-six corresponding authors were sent letters requesting additional information or clarification of data from 77 studies. Data received from the authors were synthesized with data included in the previous review, and diagnostic accuracy sensitivities, specificities, and positive and likelihood ratios were recalculated. Results: Of the 66 authors, 68% were successfully contacted and 42% provided additional data for 29 out of 77 studies (38%). All authors who provided data at all did so by the third emailed request (ten authors provided data after one request). Authors of more recent studies were more likely to be located and provide data compared to authors of older studies. The effects of requests for additional data on the conclusions regarding the utility of blood tests to identify patients with clinically significant fibrosis or cirrhosis were generally small for ten out of 12 tests. Additional data resulted in reclassification (using median likelihood ratio estimates) from less useful to moderately useful or vice versa for the remaining two blood tests and enabled the calculation of an estimate for a third blood test for which previously the data had been insufficient to do so. We did not identify a clear pattern for the directional impact of additional data on estimates of diagnostic accuracy. Conclusions: We successfully contacted and received results from 42% of authors who provided data for 38% of included studies. Contacting authors of studies evaluating the diagnostic accuracy of serum biomarkers for hepatic fibrosis and cirrhosis in hepatitis C patients impacted conclusions regarding diagnostic utility for two blood tests and enabled the calculation of an estimate for a third blood test. Despite relatively extensive efforts, we were unable to obtain data to resolve discrepancies or complete 2 × 2 tables for 62% of studies.

AB - Background: Seventeen of 172 included studies in a recent systematic review of blood tests for hepatic fibrosis or cirrhosis reported diagnostic accuracy results discordant from 2 × 2 tables, and 60 studies reported inadequate data to construct 2 × 2 tables. This study explores the yield of contacting authors of diagnostic accuracy studies and impact on the systematic review findings. Methods: Sixty-six corresponding authors were sent letters requesting additional information or clarification of data from 77 studies. Data received from the authors were synthesized with data included in the previous review, and diagnostic accuracy sensitivities, specificities, and positive and likelihood ratios were recalculated. Results: Of the 66 authors, 68% were successfully contacted and 42% provided additional data for 29 out of 77 studies (38%). All authors who provided data at all did so by the third emailed request (ten authors provided data after one request). Authors of more recent studies were more likely to be located and provide data compared to authors of older studies. The effects of requests for additional data on the conclusions regarding the utility of blood tests to identify patients with clinically significant fibrosis or cirrhosis were generally small for ten out of 12 tests. Additional data resulted in reclassification (using median likelihood ratio estimates) from less useful to moderately useful or vice versa for the remaining two blood tests and enabled the calculation of an estimate for a third blood test for which previously the data had been insufficient to do so. We did not identify a clear pattern for the directional impact of additional data on estimates of diagnostic accuracy. Conclusions: We successfully contacted and received results from 42% of authors who provided data for 38% of included studies. Contacting authors of studies evaluating the diagnostic accuracy of serum biomarkers for hepatic fibrosis and cirrhosis in hepatitis C patients impacted conclusions regarding diagnostic utility for two blood tests and enabled the calculation of an estimate for a third blood test. Despite relatively extensive efforts, we were unable to obtain data to resolve discrepancies or complete 2 × 2 tables for 62% of studies.

KW - Contacting study authors

KW - Diagnosing hepatic fibrosis

KW - Hepatitis C infection

KW - Systematic review

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84927927348&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84927927348&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1186/2046-4053-3-107

DO - 10.1186/2046-4053-3-107

M3 - Article

C2 - 25239493

AN - SCOPUS:84927927348

VL - 3

JO - Systematic Reviews

JF - Systematic Reviews

SN - 2046-4053

IS - 1

M1 - 107

ER -