The impact of selection bias in randomized multi-arm parallel group clinical trials

Diane Uschner, Ralf-Dieter Hilgers, Nicole Heussen, Andre Scherag
2018 PLoS ONE  
The impact of selection bias on the results of clinical trials has been analyzed extensively for trials of two treatments, yet its impact in multi-arm trials is still unknown. In this paper, we investigate selection bias in multi-arm trials by its impact on the type I error probability. We propose two models for selection bias, so-called biasing policies, that both extend the classic guessing strategy by Blackwell and Hodges. We derive the distribution of the F-test statistic under the
more » ... ied outcome model and provide a formula for the type I error probability under selection bias. We apply the presented approach to quantify the influence of selection bias in multi-arm trials with increasing number of treatment groups using a permuted block design for different assumptions and different biasing strategies. Our results confirm previous findings that smaller block sizes lead to a higher proportion of sequences with inflated type I error probability. Astonishingly, our results also show that the proportion of sequences with inflated type I error probability remains constant when the number of treatment groups is increased. Realizing that the impact of selection bias cannot be completely eliminated, we propose a bias adjusted statistical model and show that the power of the statistical test is only slightly deflated for larger block sizes.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0192065 pmid:29385190 pmcid:PMC5792025 fatcat:nkjd3vruxraxlbkhz2fpncseq4