METHODS: We reanalyzed the empirical data from the Health Insurance Plan trial in 1963 to the UK age trial in 1991 and their follow-up data published until 2015. We first performed Bayesian conjugated meta-analyses on the heterogeneity of attendance rate, sensitivity, and over-detection and their impacts on advanced stage breast cancer and death from breast cancer across trials using Bayesian Poisson fixed- and random-effect regression model. Bayesian meta-analysis of causal model was then developed to assess a cascade of causal relationships regarding the impact of both attendance and sensitivity on 2 main outcomes.
RESULTS: The causes of heterogeneity responsible for the disparities across the trials were clearly manifested in 3 components. The attendance rate ranged from 61.3% to 90.4%. The sensitivity estimates show substantial variation from 57.26% to 87.97% but improved with time from 64% in 1963 to 82% in 1980 when Bayesian conjugated meta-analysis was conducted in chronological order. The percentage of over-detection shows a wide range from 0% to 28%, adjusting for long lead-time. The impacts of the attendance rate and sensitivity on the 2 main outcomes were statistically significant. Causal inference made by linking these causal relationships with emphasis on the heterogeneity of the attendance rate and sensitivity accounted for the variation in the reduction of advanced breast cancer (none-30%) and of mortality (none-31%). We estimated a 33% (95% CI: 24-42%) and 13% (95% CI: 6-20%) breast cancer mortality reduction for the best scenario (90% attendance rate and 95% sensitivity) and the poor scenario (30% attendance rate and 55% sensitivity), respectively.
CONCLUSION: Elucidating the scenarios from high to low performance and learning from the experiences of these trials helps screening policy-makers contemplate on how to avoid errors made in ineffective studies and emulate the effective studies to save women lives.
DATA SOURCE: Six major databases were searched from inception till June 2015: MEDLINE, CINAHL, EMBASE, PsychInfo, SPORTDiscus, and Cochrane Center Register of Controlled Trials.
STUDY APPRAISAL AND SYNTHESIS METHODS: Two reviewers independently rated methodological quality using the modified Downs and Black Scale and extracted and synthesized key findings (i.e., participant characteristics, study design, physical function and fitness outcomes, and adverse events).
RESULTS: Eight of 276 studies met the inclusion criteria, of which none showed high research quality. Four studies assessed physical function outcomes and 4 studies evaluated aerobic fitness as outcome measures. Significant improvements on these 2 outcomes were generally found. Other physical or fitness outcomes including body composition, muscular strength, and balance were rarely reported.
CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS OF KEY FINDINGS: There is weak evidence supporting aquatic exercise training to improve physical function and aerobic fitness among adults with spinal cord injury. Suggestions for future research include reporting details of exercise interventions, evaluating other physical or fitness outcomes, and improving methodological quality.
METHODS: The study comprised a systematic review with meta-analysis and trial sequential analysis (TSA) of randomized controlled trials (RCTs). We searched for RCTs published up until September 2016. Retrieved trials were evaluated using risk of bias. Primary outcome measures were the incidences of any recurrent adenomas and of advanced adenomas. Meta-analytic estimates were calculated with the random-effects model and random errors were evaluated with trial sequential analyses (TSAs).
RESULTS: Five randomized trials (2234 patients with a history of adenomas) were included. Two of the 5 trials showed either unclear or high risks of bias in most criteria. Meta-analysis of good quality RCTs suggest a moderate protective effect of calcium supplementation on recurrence of adenomas (relative risk [RR], 0.88 [95% CI 0.79-0.99]); however, its effects on advanced adenomas did not show statistical significance (RR, 1.02 [95% CI 0.67-1.55]). Subgroup analyses demonstrated a greater protective effect on recurrence of adenomas with elemental calcium dose ≥1600 mg/day (RR, 0.74 [95% CI 0.56-0.97]) compared to ≤1200 mg/day (RR, 0.84 [95% CI 0.73-0.97]). No major serious adverse events were associated with the use of calcium, but there was an increase in the incidence of hypercalcemia (P = .0095). TSA indicated a lack of firm evidence for a beneficial effect. Concerns with directness and imprecision rated down the quality of the evidence to "low."
CONCLUSION: The available good quality RCTs suggests a possible beneficial effect of calcium supplementation on the recurrence of adenomas; however, TSA indicated that the accumulated evidence is still inconclusive. Using GRADE-methodology, we conclude that the quality of evidence is low. Large well-designed randomized trials with low risk of bias are needed.