# Creating contingency table when OR, p-value known

I am conducting a systematic review and in some of the studies, only the OR, p-value and ‘totals’ of the contingency table data is reported. For the purposes of the meta-analysis, I’m hoping to derive the absolute numbers to complete the contingency table. Is there a method to do this (preferable in R)?

The contingency table looks like this: The OR is 1.1 (0.69-.19) p=0.63

One way would be to use solve the system of equations. The following R code implements the direct solutions to these equations:

``````m1 <- 77
m3 <- 195
m4 <- 248
or <- 1.1

a <- (m3 - m1 + or*m1 + or*m4 - sqrt(-4*(-1 + or)*or*m1*m4 + (m3 + (-1 + or)*m1 + or*m4)^2))/(2*(-1 + or))
b <- (-m3 + m1 - or*m1 - 2*m4 + or*m4 + sqrt(-4*(-1 + or)*or*m1*m4 + (m3 + (-1 + or)*m1 + or*m4)^2))/(2*(-1 + or))
c <- -(m3 + m1 - or*m1 + or*m4 - sqrt(-4*(-1 + or)*or*m1*m4 + (m3 + (-1 + or)*m1 + or*m4)^2))/(2*(-1 + or))
d <- -(m3 - 2*or*m3 - m1 + or*m1 - or*m4 + sqrt(-4*(-1 + or)*or*m1*m4 + (m3 + (-1 + or)*m1 + or*m4)^2))/(2*(-1 + or))

conttab <- matrix(c(a, b, c, d), byrow = TRUE, 2, 2)
conttab
[,1]    [,2]
[1,] 44.59403 203.406
[2,] 32.40597 162.594
``````

`m1`, `m3` and `m4` are three of the margins.

The solution is non-integer because of rounding issues of the odds ratio. But you can probably work out a solution from that. In your example, a reasonable solution is a=45, b=203, c = 32, d = 163 resulting in an odds ratio of 1.128 which would be rounded down to 1.1, as specified. The resulting (rounded) 95% confidence interval is also in agreement with your values.

You could also use a numerical solver such as the package `nleqslv` to solve the equations. Here is your example:

``````library(nleqslv)

target <- function(x, m1, m3, m4, or) {

y <- numeric(4)
y <- x + x - m1
y <- x + x - m3
y <- x + x - m4
y <- ((x*x)/(x*x)) - or

return(y)
}

res <- nleqslv(c(10, 10, 10, 10), target, m1 = 248, m3 = 77, m4 = 366, or = 1.1)

\$x
  44.59403 203.40597  32.40597 162.59403
``````

I have not investigated if this approach works for most cases but in this case, it seems to do well. The numbers are in exact agreement with the solution using the formulas above.

3 Likes

My approach is maybe a bit convoluted by just doing all the backcomputation, so hopefully someone can add something better below if they find it. But you could to this.

Recall the definition of the OR:
((Number of cases with exposure)/(Number of cases without exposure)) / ((Number of non-cases with exposure)/(Number of non-cases without exposure))

I’ll assume here sex is the exposure, so you would divide:
((Infected men) / (Infected women)) / ((Non-infected men) / (Non-infected women))

Infected Not infected Totals
Male A B 248
Female C D 195
Totals 77 366 443

OR = 1.1 = (A/C) / (B/D)
C = 77 - A (because A + C = 77)
B = 248 - A (because A + B = 248)
D = 195 - C (because C + D = 195)
D = 195 - (77 - A) = 118 + A (replace C with 77 - A)

OR = 1.1 = (A / (77-A) / ((248-A) / (118 + A))

Solving this last bit you can do in R. You know the potential range for A is 0 to 77 (no exposed case to all cases are exposed). So you simply create a vector x with this range of numbers and then feed these into the formula:

``````> x <- seq(1,77,1)
> or <- (x/(77-x)) / ((248-x)/(118+x))
> or
  0.006339229  0.013008130  0.020022063  0.027397260  0.035150892  0.043301129  0.051867220  0.060869565
  0.070329806  0.080270914  0.090717300  0.101694915  0.113231383  0.125356125  0.138100512  0.151498021
  0.165584416  0.180397937  0.195979521  0.212373038  0.229625551  0.247787611  0.266913580  0.287061995
  0.308295964  0.330683625  0.354298643  0.379220779  0.405536530  0.433339840  0.462732919  0.493827160
  0.526744186  0.561617040  0.598591549  0.637827888  0.679502370  0.723809524  0.770964493  0.821205821
  0.874798712  0.932038835  0.993256815  1.058823529  1.129156404  1.204726924  1.286069652  1.373793103
  1.468592965  1.571268238  1.682741117  1.804081633  1.936538462  2.081577768  2.240932642  2.416666667
  2.611256545  2.827700831  3.069664903  3.341677096  3.649398396  4.000000000  4.402702703  4.869565217
  5.416666667  6.065934066  6.848066298  7.807407407  9.010474860 10.561797753 12.635593220 15.545454545
 19.918571429 27.218390805 41.835260116 85.720930233          Inf
> which(abs(or-1.1)==min(abs(or-1.1)))
 45
``````

So the number of exposed cases (A) is approximately 45.

You can automate this procedure if you keep in mind the following:

Outcome+ Outcome- Totals
Exposure+ A B Gamma
Exposure- C D Delta
Totals Alpha Beta Alpha + Beta

Alpha = total individuals with the outcome (cases)
Beta = total individuals without the outcome (non-cases)
Gamma = total exposed individuals
Delta = total unexposed individuals

C = Alpha - A
B = Gamma - A
D = Delta - C = Delta - (Alpha - A) = Delta - Alpha + A

The following R function solves any 2x2 table similar to the method showcased above:

``````crosstable_components <- function(ncases,ncontrols,nexposed,nunexposed,or){
referenceOR <- or
x <- seq(1,ncases,1)
b <- nexposed
c <- ncases
d <- nunexposed - ncases
total <- ncases + ncontrols

sequenceOR <- (x/(c-x)) / ((b-x)/(d+x))

index_closestOR <- which(abs(sequenceOR-referenceOR)==min(abs(sequenceOR-referenceOR)))
closestOR <- sequenceOR[index_closestOR]

out_exposedcases <- round(index_closestOR,0)
out_nonexposedcases <- round(c - out_exposedcases,0)
out_exposednoncases <- round(b - out_exposedcases,0)
out_nonexposednoncases <- round(d + out_exposedcases,0)

filled_table <- matrix(data = c(out_exposedcases,out_nonexposedcases,ncases,
out_exposednoncases,out_nonexposednoncases,ncontrols,
nexposed,nunexposed,total,
closestOR,NA,NA),
nrow = 3, ncol = 4)
colnames(filled_table) <- c("Cases","Controls","Total","Closest Matched OR")
rownames(filled_table) <- c("Exposed","Unexposed","Total")
return(filled_table)
}
``````

Edit: COOLSerdash was quicker and his answer is basically the same approach. Note that just like in his example where the issue comes down to rounding, in the method I use you are also faced with how precise the OR that you use as a reference is. In this case, two potential values of A (44 and 45) both round to 1.1, but the one with A = 45 is a bit close: 1.13 versus 1.06. Both my approach and the one from @COOLSERDASH will give approximations that are limited by the precision of the reporting of the studies you examine.

3 Likes

There’s some fast code for related stuff buried inside here using raking. This is in the context of simulating unmeasured confounders.

Thanks so much for this - I think that will do the trick.

Just so I understand how the nleqslv function works:

1. what are the ‘c(10, 10, 10, 10)’ and ‘target’ parameters for?
2. with the given set of data, will the solution derived always be the only solution i.e. is it possible that a solution with some other combination of values gives the same OR?
1. what are the ‘c(10, 10, 10, 10)’ and ‘target’ parameters for?

These are the starting values for the algorithm, the initial guess for the values. Consult the documentation for the function to see what each argument does.

1. with the given set of data, will the solution derived always be the only solution i.e. is it possible that a solution with some other combination of values gives the same OR?

For each dataset, there are two possible sets of solutions, but one results in negative numbers which are of course not sensible in this context. The formulas I provided should provide a unique positive result. I have not studied that in depth, though. I tried a few examples and all results were sensible.