Selecting the primary endpoint in a randomized clinical trial: the ARE method
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The decision on the primary endpoint in a randomized clinical trial is of paramount importance and the combination of several endpoints might be a reasonable choice. Gómez and Lagakos (2013) have developed a method that quantifies how much more efficient it could be to use a composite instead of an individual relevant endpoint. From the information provided by the frequencies of observing the component endpoints in the control group and by the relative treatment effects on each individual endpoint, the asymptotic relative efficiency (ARE) can be computed. This article presents the applicability of the ARE method as a practical and objective tool to evaluate which components, among the plausible ones, are more efficient in the construction of the primary endpoint. The method is illustrated with two real cardiovascular clinical trials and is extended to allow for different dependence structures between the times to the individual endpoints. The influence of this choice on the recommendation on whether or not to use the composite endpoint as the primary endpoint for the investigation is studied. We conclude that the recommendation between using the composite or the relevant endpoint only depends on the frequencies of the endpoints and the relative effects of the treatment.
CitationPlana-Ripoll, O., Gomez, G. Selecting the primary endpoint in a randomized clinical trial: the ARE method. "Journal of biopharmaceutical statistics", 2016, vol. 26, núm. 5, p. 880-898.