An adaptive approach to implementing bivariate group sequential clinical trial designs
Todd, S. (2003) An adaptive approach to implementing bivariate group sequential clinical trial designs. Journal of Biopharmaceutical Statistics, 13 (4). pp. 605-619. ISSN 1054-3406
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1081/BIP-120024197
In clinical trials, situations often arise where more than one response from each patient is of interest; and it is required that any decision to stop the study be based upon some or all of these measures simultaneously. Theory for the design of sequential experiments with simultaneous bivariate responses is described by Jennison and Turnbull (Jennison, C., Turnbull, B. W. (1993). Group sequential tests for bivariate response: interim analyses of clinical trials with both efficacy and safety endpoints. Biometrics 49:741-752) and Cook and Farewell (Cook, R. J., Farewell, V. T. (1994). Guidelines for monitoring efficacy and toxicity responses in clinical trials. Biometrics 50:1146-1152) in the context of one efficacy and one safety response. These expositions are in terms of normally distributed data with known covariance. The methods proposed require specification of the correlation, ρ between test statistics monitored as part of the sequential test. It can be difficult to quantify ρ and previous authors have suggested simply taking the lowest plausible value, as this will guarantee power. This paper begins with an illustration of the effect that inappropriate specification of ρ can have on the preservation of trial error rates. It is shown that both the type I error and the power can be adversely affected. As a possible solution to this problem, formulas are provided for the calculation of correlation from data collected as part of the trial. An adaptive approach is proposed and evaluated that makes use of these formulas and an example is provided to illustrate the method. Attention is restricted to the bivariate case for ease of computation, although the formulas derived are applicable in the general multivariate case.