Two experienced authors (Shuxia Ge and Qianqian Xing) will be reviewed independently to identify potential trials by assessing the titles and abstracts. The full text will be further reviewed to determine potential eligible studies. A PRISMA-compliant flow chart (Fig. (Fig.1)1) will be used to describe the selection process of eligible trials. Excluded studies and reasons for exclusion will be recorded. Endnote X7 software will be used for literature managing and records searching. Disagreements between the 2 researchers will be resolved by consensus or by a third independent investigator (Anqi Zhang).

Study selection process for the meta-analysis.

After screening the text, the 2 investigators (Shuxia Ge and Qianqian Xing) will independently extract the information contained in the eligible literature. The extracted data are as follows:

Study characteristics and methodology: country of study, the first author's name, year of publication, randomization, sample size, periods of data collection, follow-up duration, outcome measures, inclusion and exclusion criteria, and so on.

Participant characteristics: age, gender, tumor stage, tumor size, diagnostic criteria, and so on.

Interventions: therapeutic means, types of TCM, dose, administration route, course of treatment, and duration of treatment, and so on.

Outcome and other data: ORR, DCR, OS, QoL, immune indexes [(CD3+, CD4+, CD8+, NK cells percentage, and CD4+/CD8+ cell ratios), tumor markers (HE4, CA125, CEA and CA199) and serum cytokines level (IL-2, IL-4, IFN-γ, and TNF-α)], and adverse effects, and so on.

When any data are missing or insufficient, we will contact original authors by using email. If those relevant data are not acquired, we will only analyze the available data, and discuss its impact as a limitation.

Note: The content above has been extracted from a research article, so it may not display correctly.

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