Reporting quality in systematic reviews of in vitro studies: a systematic review

Curr Med Res Opin. 2019 Sep;35(9):1631-1641. doi: 10.1080/03007995.2019.1607270. Epub 2019 May 28.


Background: Systematic reviews (SRs) and/or meta-analyses of in vitro research have an important role in establishing the foundation for clinical studies. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the reporting quality of SRs of in vitro studies using the PRISMA checklist.Method: Four databases were searched including PubMed, Virtual Health Library (VHL), Web of Science (ISI) and Scopus. The search was limited from 2006 to 2016 to include all SRs and/or meta-analyses (MAs) of pure in vitro studies. The evaluation of reporting quality was done using the PRISMA checklist.Results: Out of 7702 search results, 65 SRs were included and evaluated with the PRISMA checklist. Overall, the mean overall quality score of reported items of the PRISMA checklist was 68%. We have noticed an increasing pattern in the numbers of published SRs of in vitro studies over the last 10 years. In contrast, the reporting quality was not significantly improved over the same period (p = .363). There was a positive but not significant correlation between the overall quality score and the journal impact factor of the included studies.Conclusions: The adherence of SRs of in vitro studies to the PRISMA guidelines was poor. Therefore, we believe that using reporting guidelines and journals paying attention to this fact will improve the quality of SRs of in vitro studies.

Keywords: PRISMA; Reporting quality; in vitro; meta-analysis; systematic review.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Checklist
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques*
  • Research Report / standards*