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Title: A Bayesian cost-benefit approach to sample size determination and evaluation in clinical trials
Author: Kikuchi, Takashi
ISNI:       0000 0004 2709 0659
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2011
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Current practice for sample size computations in clinical trials is largely based on frequentist or classical methods. These methods have the drawback of requiring a point estimate of the variance of treatment effect and are based on arbitrary settings of type I and II errors. They also do not directly address the question of achieving the best balance between the costs of the trial and the possible benefits by using a new medical treatment, and fail to consider the important fact that the number of users depends on evidence for improvement compared with the current treatment. A novel Bayesian approach, Behavioral Bayes (or BeBay for short) (Gittins and Pezeshk, 2000a,b, 2002a,b; Pezeshk, 2003), assumes that the number of patients switching to the new treatment depends on the strength of the evidence which is provided by clinical trials, and takes a value between zero and the number of potential patients in the country. The better a new treatment, the more patients switch to it and the more the resulting benefit. The model defines the optimal sample size to be the sample size that maximises the expected net benefit resulting from a clinical trial. Gittins and Pezeshk use a simple form of benefit function for paired comparisons between two medical treatments and assume that the variance of the efficacy is known. The research in this thesis generalises these original conditions by introducing a logistic benefit function to take account of differences in efficacy and safety between two drugs. The model is also extended to the more general cases of unpaired comparisons and unknown variance. The expected net benefit defined by Gittins and Pezeshk is based on the efficacy of the new drug only. It does not consider the incidence of adverse reactions and their effect on patients’ preferences. Here we include the costs of treating adverse reactions and calculate the total benefit in terms of how much the new drug can reduce societal expenditure. We describe how our model may be used for the design of phase III clinical trials, cluster randomised clinical trials and bridging studies. This is done in some detail and using illustrative examples based on published studies. For phase III trials we allow the possibility of unequal treatment group sizes, which often occur in practice. Bridging studies are those carried out to extend the range of applicability of an established drug, for example to new ethnic groups. Throughout the objective of our procedures is to optimise the costbenefit in terms of national health-care. BeBay is the leading methodology for determining sample sizes on this basis. It explicitly takes account of the roles of three decision makers, namely patients and doctors, pharmaceutical companies and the health authority.
Supervisor: Gittins, John Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Statistics (see also social sciences) ; Bayesian ; cost-benefit ; sample sizes ; evalution ; clinical trials ; bridging studies