Multivariate meta-analysis of individual participant data helped externally validate the performance and implementation of a prediction model

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • Hairui Hua
  • T.p.a. Debray
  • M.p. Look
  • K.g.m. Moons
  • R.d. Riley

Colleges, School and Institutes


Objective Our aim was to improve meta-analysis methods for summarising a prediction model’s performance when individual participant data are available from multiple studies for external validation. Study design & setting We suggest multivariate meta-analysis for jointly synthesising calibration and discrimination performance, whilst accounting for their correlation. The approach estimates a prediction model's average performance, the heterogeneity in performance across populations, and the probability of ‘good’ performance in new populations. This allows different implementation strategies (e.g. recalibration) to be compared. Application is made to a diagnostic model for deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and a prognostic model for breast cancer mortality. Results In both examples multivariate meta-analysis reveals that calibration performance is excellent on average, but highly heterogeneous across populations unless the model’s intercept (baseline hazard) is recalibrated. For the cancer model, the probability of 'good' performance (defined by C-statistic≥0.7 and calibration slope between 0.9 and 1.1) in a new population was 0.67 with recalibration, but 0.22 without recalibration. For the DVT model, even with recalibration there was only a 0.02 probability of 'good' performance. Conclusion Multivariate meta-analysis can be used to externally validate a prediction model’s calibration and discrimination performance across multiple populations, and to evaluate different implementation strategies.


Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Clinical Epidemiology
Early online date16 May 2015
Publication statusPublished - May 2015


  • Risk prediction, prognostic model, individual participant data (IPD), multivariate meta-analysis, external validation, calibration, discrimination, heterogeneity, model comparison