[R-meta] Testing for subgroup differences - meta (byvar) vs metafor
James Pustejovsky
jepusto at gmail.com
Wed Dec 6 18:18:26 CET 2017
I'll add one further difference between metagen and rma. In metagen, the
test of the moderator is based on the usual large-sample chi-squared
approximation, even if the CIs for the sub-group average effects use the
Knapp-Hartung adjustment:
metagen_fit <- metagen(MD, seMD, byvar = region, data = Fleiss93cont,
tau.common = TRUE, method.tau = "REML", sm = "MD", hakn = TRUE)
metagen_fit$Q.b.random
pchisq(metagen_fit$Q.b.random, df = metagen_fit$df.Q.b, lower.tail = FALSE)
If you fit the same model in metafor, the test of the moderator appears to
use the meta-regression version of the Knapp-Hartung adjustment and an
F-test with (k - p) degrees of freedom, where k is the number of studies
and p is the number of coefficients in the meta-regression:
rma_fit <- rma(y = MD, sei = seMD, mods = ~ region, data = Fleiss93cont,
method = "REML", test = "knha")
pf(rma_fit$QM, df1 = 1, df2 = 3, lower.tail = FALSE) # as an F test
2 * pt(abs(rma_fit$zval[2]), df = 3, lower.tail = FALSE) # as a t test
There is a similar discrepancy if we instead use rma.mv and test = "t". In
that case (with two variance components), I doubt either version of the
test is that great and it would probably be better to use some sort of
Satterthwaite approximation for the degrees of freedom. Or get yourself
more studies.
James
On Wed, Dec 6, 2017 at 3:23 AM, Viechtbauer Wolfgang (SP) <
wolfgang.viechtbauer at maastrichtuniversity.nl> wrote:
> Hi Thomas,
>
> The results are the same, but you just have to go about things in
> different ways to get the same results. Start with:
>
> metagen(MD, seMD, byvar = region, data = Fleiss93cont, tau.common = TRUE,
> method.tau = "REML", sm = "MD")
> rma(y = MD, sei = seMD, mods = ~ region - 1, data = Fleiss93cont,
> method = "REML")
>
> So, assuming a common tau^2 value across subgroups and not using the K&H
> adjustment. By using 'mods = ~ region - 1' you get the estimate for each
> level of 'region'. If you leave out the - 1, then one level (in this case
> 'Asia') becomes the reference level and the coefficient for 'Europe' is the
> difference between the two levels.
>
> Now let's use the K&H / H&K adjustment:
>
> metagen(MD, seMD, byvar = region, data = Fleiss93cont, tau.common = TRUE,
> method.tau = "REML", sm = "MD", hakn = TRUE)
> rma(y = MD, sei = seMD, mods = ~ region - 1, data = Fleiss93cont,
> method = "REML", test = "knha")
>
> You will again get the same estimates, but the CIs are different.
> metagen() estimates a common tau^2 value and then applies the K&H
> adjustment separately within each subset. rma() also estimates a common
> tau^2 value but then applies the meta-regression version of the K&H
> adjustment. This will give different results. To get the same results, use:
>
> res <- rma(y = MD, sei = seMD, mods = ~ region - 1, data = Fleiss93cont,
> method = "REML", test = "knha")
> rma(y = MD, sei = seMD, data = Fleiss93cont, method = "REML", test =
> "knha",
> subset=region=="Asia", tau2 = res$tau2)
> rma(y = MD, sei = seMD, data = Fleiss93cont, method = "REML", test =
> "knha",
> subset=region=="Europe", tau2 = res$tau2)
>
> So, first estimate the common tau^2 value and then fit separate RE models
> in each subset with the K&H adjustment and specify the value of the tau^2
> from the first step.
>
> Now let's do this without assuming a common tau^2 value:
>
> metagen(MD, seMD, byvar = region, data = Fleiss93cont, tau.common = FALSE,
> method.tau = "REML", sm = "MD")
> rma.mv(MD, V= seMD^2, mods = ~ region - 1, method = "REML", random =
> ~region|study,
> struct="DIAG", data=Fleiss93cont)
>
> As you show, here one can use rma.mv() to accomplish the same thing and
> the results are the same. And now with K&H adjustment:
>
> metagen(MD, seMD, byvar = region, data = Fleiss93cont, tau.common = FALSE,
> method.tau = "REML", sm = "MD", hakn = TRUE)
> rma(y = MD, sei = seMD, data = Fleiss93cont, method = "REML", test =
> "knha",
> subset=region=="Asia")
> rma(y = MD, sei = seMD, data = Fleiss93cont, method = "REML", test =
> "knha",
> subset=region=="Europe")
>
> So, for rma(), just fit RE models in each subset using the K&H adjustment
> and then the results are the same. And tau^2 is then of course estimated
> separately within each subset.
>
> Best,
> Wolfgang
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: R-sig-meta-analysis [mailto:r-sig-meta-analysis-
> bounces at r-project.org] On Behalf Of Zelniker, Thomas
> Sent: Wednesday, 06 December, 2017 3:08
> To: r-sig-meta-analysis at r-project.org
> Subject: [R-meta] Testing for subgroup differences - meta (byvar) vs
> metafor
>
> Dear all,
>
> I am performing a meta-analysis of e.g. 4 trials. Each of these trials
> reports results for 2 subgroups (group A and group B). My aim is to
> meta-analyze and test for interaction between these two subgroups.
> The R package meta allows doing this very easily by including the term
> byvar. However, I am not able to replicate this with the package metafor.
> Could anyone explain to me how the byvar statement works?
>
> What would be the best approach?
>
> Please find below an example indicating the differences between metafor
> and meta:
>
> library(meta)
> library(metafor)
> rm(list = ls())
> data(Fleiss93cont)
> # Add some (fictious) grouping variables:
> Fleiss93cont$age <- c(55, 65, 55, 65, 55)
> Fleiss93cont$region <- c("Europe", "Europe", "Asia", "Asia", "Europe")
> Fleiss93cont$MD <- with(Fleiss93cont, mean.e - mean.c)
> Fleiss93cont$seMD <- with(Fleiss93cont, sqrt(sd.e^2/n.e + sd.c^2/n.c))
>
> meta_mod <- metagen(MD, seMD,
> byvar = region,
> data = Fleiss93cont,
> tau.common = F,
> method.tau = "REML",
> hakn = T,
> sm = "MD")
>
> # Here the results:
> meta_mod
> rma(y = MD, sei = seMD, mods = ~ region, data = Fleiss93cont, method =
> "REML", test = "knha", intercept = T)
> rma.mv(MD, V= seMD^2, mods = ~ region, method = "REML", test="t", random
> = ~region|study, struct="DIAG", data=Fleiss93cont)
>
> Best regards,
> Thomas
>
> ________________________________
> Dr. Thomas Zelniker, MD, MSc
> Research Fellow
> TIMI Study Group
> Brigham and Women's Hospital | Harvard Medical School
> 60 Fenwood Rd. | Suite 7022-7024W | Boston, MA 02115 | Ph: 1-617-278-0326
> tzelniker at bwh.harvard.edu<mailto:tzelniker at partners.org> | www.timi.org<
> http://www.timi.org/>
>
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