Clinical and Translational Imaging

, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 83–87 | Cite as

Systematic reviews and meta-analyses of diagnostic studies: a practical guideline

  • Ramin Sadeghi
  • Giorgio TregliaEmail author
Expert Review



Actually, systematic reviews and meta-analyses are the cornerstone of evidence-based practice and the number of these evidence-based articles on diagnostic studies is increasing.


The aim of this article is to provide a practical guideline for the researchers who intend to perform a systematic review or meta-analysis of diagnostic studies.


A guideline was prepared according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) and Cochrane handbook for systematic reviews of diagnostic test accuracy.


Several steps needed for systematic reviews or meta-analyses of diagnostic studies are briefly discussed (i.e. formulating the question of systematic reviews, search strategy, inclusion and exclusion criteria, quality assessment of the included studies, data extraction, pooling diagnostic indices across studies, reporting heterogeneity and discussion of main findings).


To publish a high-quality systematic review or meta-analysis of diagnostic test accuracy, certain methodology should be followed. Only methodologically sound systematic reviews or meta-analyses can change or support the clinical use of a diagnostic test.


Systematic review Meta-analysis Guideline Evidence based medicine 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors (Ramin Sadeghi and Giorgio Treglia) declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Italian Association of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nuclear Medicine Research CenterMashhad University of Medical SciencesMashhadIran
  2. 2.Department of Nuclear Medicine and PET/CT CentreOncology Institute of Southern SwitzerlandBellinzonaSwitzerland

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