An overview on the methodological and reporting quality of dose–response meta-analysis on cancer prevention

  • Chang Xu
  • Yu Liu
  • Chao Zhang
  • Joey S. W. Kwong
  • Jian-Guo Zhou
  • Long Ge
  • Jing-Yu HuangEmail author
  • Tong-Zu LiuEmail author
Original Article – Cancer Research



Dose–response meta-analysis (DRMA) has been widely used in exploring cancer risk factors. Understanding the quality of published DRMAs on cancer risk factors may be beneficial for informed prevention for cancer.


We searched eligible DRMAs from 1st January 2011 to 31st-July-2017. The modified AMSTAR 1.0 (15 items) and PRISMA checklist (26 items) were used to evaluate the methodological and reporting quality of included DRMAs. We compared the adherence rate of these items by journal type, publication years, region, and funding information, in prior.


We included 260 DRMAs. Colorectal, breast, prostate, and lung were the four most commonly investigated cancers. For methodological quality, 6 out of 15 items were adhered by less than 30% of the DRMAs, 2 by less than 60%, only 7 of which by 80% or more. For reporting quality, 3 out of 26 items were adhered by less than 30% of the DRMAs, 1 by less than 80% (> 30%), and 20 of which by 80% or more. Those published in general journal, published more recently, and received any financial support have better methodological (Rate differences, RDs = 10–36%; P < 0.05) and reporting adherence (RDs = 12–36%; P < 0.05). DRMAs by Asian author tend to be less qualified than by European and American.


The methodological quality of DRMAs on cancer risk factors is worrisome that the findings of them may be deflective; more efforts are needed to improve the validity of it.


Cancer prevention Dose–response meta-analysis Methodological quality Reporting quality 



I (XC) would like to express my deep appreciation for Prof. Suhail A.R Doi (Qatar University) for his guidance on me of synthesis methods for dose–response data.

Author contributions

LTZ, HJY, and XC conceived and designed the study; XC and ZC drafted the manuscript; XC and LY contributed to the quality assessment; LTZ, HJY, ZC, JK, LS, ZJG, and GL provided careful comments and revised the manuscript. All authors approved the final version to be published.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

432_2019_2869_MOESM1_ESM.docx (29 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 28 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chang Xu
    • 1
  • Yu Liu
    • 2
  • Chao Zhang
    • 3
  • Joey S. W. Kwong
    • 4
  • Jian-Guo Zhou
    • 5
  • Long Ge
    • 6
  • Jing-Yu Huang
    • 7
    Email author
  • Tong-Zu Liu
    • 8
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Urology, Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University, Wuhan University, Wuhan & Chinese Evidence-based Medicine Center, West China HospitalSichuan UniversityChengduChina
  2. 2.Gansu Provincial Maternity and Child-Care HospitalGansuChina
  3. 3.Center for Evidence-Based Medicine and Clinical Research, Taihe HospitalHubei University of MedicineShiyanChina
  4. 4.JC School of Public Health and Primary Care, Faculty of MedicineThe Chinese University of Hong KongHong KongChina
  5. 5.Department of OncologyAffiliated Hospital of Zunyi Medical UniversityZunyiChina
  6. 6.Evidence-Based Medicine Center, School of Basic Medical SciencesLanzhou UniversityLanzhouChina
  7. 7.Department of Thoracic Tumor Ward, Thoracic and Cardiovascular SurgeryZhongnan Hospital of Wuhan UniversityWuhanChina
  8. 8.Department of Urology, Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan UniversityWuhan UniversityWuhanChina

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