Multiple imputation for early stopping of a complex clinical trial

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It is desirable to have procedures available for stopping a clinical trial early if there appears to be no treatment effect. Conditional power procedures allow for early stopping in favor of the null hypothesis if the probability of rejecting H0 at the planned end of the trial given the current data and a value of the parameter of interest is below some threshold level. Lan, Simon, and Halperin (1982, Communications in Statistics C1, 207- 219) proposed a stochastic curtailment procedure that calculates the conditional power under the alternative hypothesis. Alternatively, predictive power procedures incorporate information from the observed data by averaging the conditional power over the posterior distribution of the parameter. For complex problems in which explicit evaluation of conditional power is not possible, we propose treating the problem of projecting the outcome of a trial given the current data as a missing data problem. We then complete the data using multiple imputation and thus eliminate the need for explicit calculation of conditional power. We apply this method to AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG) protocol 118 and to several simulated clinical trials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-242
Number of pages14
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1998


  • Conditional power
  • Predictive power
  • Proportional hazards
  • Stochastic Curtailment
  • Survival analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • Applied Mathematics


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