Model-robust inference for clinical trials that improve precision by stratified randomization and adjustment for additional baseline variables

Bingkai Wang, Ryoko Susukida, Ramin Mojtabai, Masoumeh Amin-Esmaeili, Michael Rosenblum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We focus on estimating the average treatment effect in clinical trials that involve stratified randomization, which is commonly used. It is important to understand the large sample properties of estimators that adjust for stratum variables (those used in the randomization procedure) and additional baseline variables, since this can lead to substantial gains in precision and power. Surprisingly, to the best of our knowledge, this is an open problem. It was only recently that a simpler problem was solved by Bugni et al. (2018) for the case with no additional baseline variables, continuous outcomes, the analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) estimator, and no missing data. We generalize their results in three directions. First, in addition to continuous outcomes, we handle binary and time-to-event outcomes; this broadens the applicability of the results. Second, we allow adjustment for an additional, preplanned set of baseline variables, which can improve precision. Third, we handle missing outcomes under the missing at random assumption. We prove that a wide class of estimators is asymptotically normally distributed under stratified randomization and has equal or smaller asymptotic variance than under simple randomization. For each estimator in this class, we give a consistent variance estimator. This is important in order to fully capitalize on the combined precision gains from stratified randomization and adjustment for additional baseline variables. The above results also hold for the biased-coin covariate-adaptive design. We demonstrate our results using completed trial data sets of treatments for substance use disorder, where adjustment for additional baseline variables brings substantial variance reduction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalUnknown Journal
StatePublished - Oct 30 2019

Keywords

  • Covariate-adaptive randomization
  • Generalized linear model
  • Robustness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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