The role of meta-analysis in defining clinical practice in advanced non-small-cell lung cancer

Author(s): Massimo Di Maio

Well-conducted meta-analyses are a powerful and useful instrument to produce synthesis of all the evidence available on a specific clinical issue. In recent years, like in other fields of oncology, the number of meta-analyses conducted in the setting of advanced non-small-cell lung cancer has consistently grown. Results of meta-analyses are considered as a strong level of evidence in all the most important guidelines. However, heterogeneity of results among clinical trials included in a meta-analysis should be investigated and discussed, because it might significantly affect the interpretation of results and their application in clinical practice. After demonstration of a statistically significant advantage, the magnitude of the observed benefit should always be weighed against risks and costs of treatments.