Bivariate random-effects meta-analysis of sensitivity and specificity with SAS PROC GLIMMIX

Methods Inf Med. 2010;49(1):54-62, 62-4. doi: 10.3414/ME09-01-0001. Epub 2009 Nov 20.


Objectives: Meta-analysis allows to summarize pooled sensitivities and specificities from several primary diagnostic test accuracy studies. Often these pooled estimates are indirectly obtained from a hierarchical summary receiver operating characteristics (HSROC) analysis. This article presents a generalized linear random-effects model with the new SAS PROC GLIMMIX that obtains the pooled estimates for sensitivity and specificity directly.

Methods: Firstly, the formula of the bivariate random-effects model is presented in context with the literature. Then its implementation with the new SAS PROC GLIMMIX is empirically evaluated in comparison to the indirect HSROC approach, utilizing the published 2 x 2 count data of 50 meta-analyses.

Results: According to the empirical evaluation the meta-analytic results from the bivariate GLIMMIX approach are nearly identical to the results from the indirect HSROC approach.

Conclusions: A generalized linear mixed model with PROC GLIMMIX offers a straightforward method for bivariate random-effects meta-analysis of sensitivity and specificity.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Analysis of Variance*
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical*
  • Humans
  • Linear Models*
  • Meta-Analysis as Topic*
  • Nonlinear Dynamics*
  • ROC Curve
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Software*