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Factorial versus multi-arm multi-stage designs for clinical trials with multiple treatments

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>20/02/2017
<mark>Journal</mark>Statistics in Medicine
Issue number4
Number of pages8
Pages (from-to)563-580
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date2/11/16
<mark>Original language</mark>English


When several treatments are available for evaluation in a clinical trial, different design options are available. We compare multi-arm multi-stage with factorial designs, and in particular, we will consider a 2 × 2 factorial design, where groups of patients will either take treatments A, B, both or neither. We investigate the performance and characteristics of both types of designs under different scenarios and compare them using both theory and simulations. For the factorial designs, we construct appropriate test statistics to test the hypothesis of no treatment effect against the control group with overall control of the type I error. We study the effect of the choice of the allocation ratios on the critical value and sample size requirements for a target power. We also study how the possibility of an interaction between the two treatments A and B affects type I and type II errors when testing for significance of each of the treatment effects. We present both simulation results and a case study on an osteoarthritis clinical trial. We discover that in an optimal factorial design in terms of minimising the associated critical value, the corresponding allocation ratios differ substantially to those of a balanced design. We also find evidence of potentially big losses in power in factorial designs for moderate deviations from the study design assumptions and little gain compared with multi-arm multi-stage designs when the assumptions hold.