Meta-analysis is the systematic and quantitative review of the results of a set of individual medical studies all concerning the same or a closely related research question, intended to integrate their findings. It was introduced in the medical field in the early eighties. Since then, the number of meta-analyses yearly reported in the medical literature has grown very rapidly to more thousands per year nowadays. Meta-analysis, by summarizing the evidence in the medical literature for the efficacy of treatments, plays a dominant role in evidence-based medicine. Since most meta-analyses use summary data extracted from publications, special statistical methods are needed. Particularly modelling the heterogeneity between the results from different studies is a challenge. Therefore statistical meta-analysis methods are closely related to mixed effects models.


The section Medical Statistics has been involved in a large number of meta-analyses conducted by other LUMC departments.  Staff members of Medical Statistics are open for collaboration or advise on statistical methods for meta-analysis.  Contact person is Lies de Kler.


The statistical research focusses on

  • Diagnostic meta-analyses
  • Rare events meta-analysis
  • Meta-analysis of survival curves
  • Multivariate meta-analysis
  • Meta-analysis of genetic data

Selected publications

Gast KB, Tjeerdema N, Stijnen T, Smit JWA, Dekkers OM. Insulin Resistance and Risk of Incident Cardiovascular Events in Adults without Diabetes: a Meta-Analysis.  Plos One (2012)

Fiocco M, Stijnen T, Putter H. Meta-analysis of time-to-event outcomes using a hazard-based approach: Comparison with other models, robustness and meta-regression. Computational Statistics & Data Analysis (2012)

Ghidey W, Stijnen T, van Houwelingen JC. Modelling the effect of baseline risk in meta-analysis: A review from the perspective of errors-in-variables regression. Statistical Methods in Medical Research (2011)

Zwartele RE, Witjes S, Doets HC, Stijnen T, Poll RG. Cementless total hip arthroplasty in rheumatoid arthritis: a systematic review of the literature. Archives of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery (2012)

Ahmed TAN, Bergheanu SC, Stijnen T, Plevier JWM, Quax PHA, Jukema JW. Clinical performance of drug-eluting stents with biodegradable polymeric coating: a meta-analysis and systematic review . Eurointervention (2011)

Niel-Weise BS, Stijnen T, van den Broek PJ. Should In-line Filters Be Used in Peripheral Intravenous Catheters to Prevent Infusion-Related Phlebitis? A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials. Anesthesia and Analgesia  (2010)

Stijnen T, Hamza TH, Ozdemir P. Random effects meta-analysis of event outcome in the framework of the generalized linear mixed model with applications in sparse data. Statistics in Medicine (2010)

Lebrec JJ, Stijnen T, van Houwelingen JC. Dealing with Heterogeneity between Cohorts in Genomewide SNP Association Studies. Statistical Applications in Genetics and Molecular Biology  (2010)

Hamza TH, Arends LR, van Houwelingen JC, Stijnen T. Multivariate random effects meta-analysis of diagnostic tests with multiple thresholds. BMC Medical Research Methodology (2009)

Hamza TH, van Houwelingen HC, Stijnen T. The binomial distribution of meta-analysis was preferred to model within-study variability. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology (2008)

Ghidey W, Lesaffre E, Stijnen T. Semi-parametric modelling of the distribution of the baseline risk in meta-analysis. Statistics in Medicine (2007)

Hamza TH, Reitsma JB, Stijnen T. Meta-analysis of diagnostic studies: A comparison of random intercept normal-normal and binomial-normal bivariate summary ROC approaches. Medical Decision Making (2008)     

Arends LR, Hunink MGM, Stijnen T. Meta-analysis of summary survival curve data. Statistics in Medicine (2008)

Arends LR, Hamza TH, van Houwelingen JC, Heijenbrok-Kal MH, Hunink MGM, Stijnen T. Bivariate random effects meta-analysis of ROC curves. Medical Decision Making (2008)

Arends LR, Voko Z, Stijnen T. Combining multiple outcome measures in a meta-analysis: an application. Statistics in Medicine (2002)

Houwelingen JC van, Arends LR, Stijnen T. Advanced methods in meta-analysis: multivariate approach and meta-regression. Statistics in Medicine (2002)

Houwelingen van JC, Zwinderman AH, Stijnen T. A bivariate look at meta-analysis. Statistics in Medicine (1993)

Stijnen T, Houwelingen van JC. Empirical Bayes Methods in Clinical Trials Meta-Analysis. Biometrical Journal 1990