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I am developing network meta-analysis BUGS model that I will use to compare Hazard Ratios in studies that assume Box Proportional Hazard model.

As input I am given pairs: (log HR, its standard error) that measure magnitude of the effect of difference between two treatments. Naturally I assume normal distribution model for the log HR ("LHR" for short) with its given SE.

Problem is, when I have more than one LHR result from a single study: sometimes these results are based on independent groups - and then I treat them just as if they came from separate studies.

But more often than not these results are based on multiple comparisons in more than two-arms experiment on the same group. It means, that they have e.g. 4 groups of patients: A, B, C and d and report Hazard Ratios A vs B, A vs C, A vd D, B vs C, B vs D and C vs D. These 6 results are not-so-independent, so I can't really treat them as independent in my BUGS model.

So I believe that treating them as separate studies is wrong, but what else can I do?

If that is relevant for you, I can post actual BUGS model.

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I hope that you find this tutorial helpful (http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/1471-2288-10-54.pdf). It describes the use of a network meta-analysis for accounting for the lack of independence in multi-arm trials. The field is growing quickly and I expect to see a lot of new work on this area in the upcoming years.

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  • $\begingroup$ Yes, this article is very much to the point and I've already read this article. I should have posted it as my own answer, but apparently I forgot. So all the credit goes to you! And thank you. $\endgroup$ – Adam Ryczkowski May 1 '13 at 10:52
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the feedback, and glad I was able to help (even if confirming what you already knew :) ). Good luck. $\endgroup$ – abousetta May 1 '13 at 14:35

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