Point estimates and confidence regions for sequential trials involving selection
Stallard, N. and Todd, S. (2005) Point estimates and confidence regions for sequential trials involving selection. Journal of Statistical Planning and Inference, 135 (1). pp. 402-419. ISSN 0378-3758
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/j.jspi.2004.05.006
A number of authors have proposed clinical trial designs involving the comparison of several experimental treatments with a control treatment in two or more stages. At the end of the first stage, the most promising experimental treatment is selected, and all other experimental treatments are dropped from the trial. Provided it is good enough, the selected experimental treatment is then compared with the control treatment in one or more subsequent stages. The analysis of data from such a trial is problematic because of the treatment selection and the possibility of stopping at interim analyses. These aspects lead to bias in the maximum-likelihood estimate of the advantage of the selected experimental treatment over the control and to inaccurate coverage for the associated confidence interval. In this paper, we evaluate the bias of the maximum-likelihood estimate and propose a bias-adjusted estimate. We also propose an approach to the construction of a confidence region for the vector of advantages of the experimental treatments over the control based on an ordering of the sample space. These regions are shown to have accurate coverage, although they are also shown to be necessarily unbounded. Confidence intervals for the advantage of the selected treatment are obtained from the confidence regions and are shown to have more accurate coverage than the standard confidence interval based upon the maximum-likelihood estimate and its asymptotic standard error.