Network Meta-Analysis, Multiple Treatment Comparison (MTC).
Network meta-analysis is an advanced tool for quantitative data synthesis, especially useful if data structure is complex. In particular, it is commonly applied in the following cases:
- To estimate efficacy/safety of a given intervention in relation to several competitive treatment options;
- When there is no adequate direct evidence for assessment of a given intervention in comparison to preferred comparator, but there exist several options of indirect comparison.
This approach, based on Bayesian statistics, considers all the input data simultaneously, even while the included studies compare different interventions. A different network is built separately for each endpoint with an assessment for consistency and homogeneity.
The results of the network analysis may contain various information in addition to the basic relative effect estimates for each pair of interventions, including a ranking of considered treatments based on different criteria.