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A Critical Review of Graphics for Subgroup Analyses in Clinical Trials

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

E-pub ahead of print
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>25/03/2020
<mark>Journal</mark>Pharmaceutical Statistics
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print
Early online date25/03/20
Original languageEnglish


Subgroup analyses are a routine part of clinical trials to investigate whether treatment effects are homogeneous across the study population. Graphical approaches play a key role in subgroup analyses to visualise effect sizes of subgroups, to aid the identification of groups that respond differentially, and to communicate the results to a wider audience. Many existing approaches do not capture the core information and are prone to lead to a misinterpretation of the subgroup effects. In this work, we critically appraise existing visualisation techniques, propose useful extensions to increase their utility and attempt to develop an effective visualisation approach. We focus on forest plots, UpSet plots, Galbraith plots, subpopulation treatment effect pattern plot, and contour plots, and comment on other approaches whose utility is more limited. We illustrate the methods using data from a prostate cancer study.