CINeMA: An approach for assessing confidence in the results of a network meta-analysis

Adriani Nikolakopoulou, Julian P T Higgins, Theodoros Papakonstantinou, Anna Chaimani, Cinzia Del Giovane, Matthias Egger, Georgia Salanti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

439 Citations (Scopus)
118 Downloads (Pure)


BACKGROUND: The evaluation of the credibility of results from a meta-analysis has become an important part of the evidence synthesis process. We present a methodological framework to evaluate confidence in the results from network meta-analyses, Confidence in Network Meta-Analysis (CINeMA), when multiple interventions are compared.

METHODOLOGY: CINeMA considers 6 domains: (i) within-study bias, (ii) reporting bias, (iii) indirectness, (iv) imprecision, (v) heterogeneity, and (vi) incoherence. Key to judgments about within-study bias and indirectness is the percentage contribution matrix, which shows how much information each study contributes to the results from network meta-analysis. The contribution matrix can easily be computed using a freely available web application. In evaluating imprecision, heterogeneity, and incoherence, we consider the impact of these components of variability in forming clinical decisions.

CONCLUSIONS: Via 3 examples, we show that CINeMA improves transparency and avoids the selective use of evidence when forming judgments, thus limiting subjectivity in the process. CINeMA is easy to apply even in large and complicated networks.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1003082
Number of pages19
JournalPLoS Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2020


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