Strategies for informed sample size reduction in adaptive controlled clinical trials

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Clinical trial adaptation refers to any adjustment of the trial protocol after the onset of the trial. The main goal is to make the process of introducing new medical interventions to patients more efficient. The principal challenge, which is an outstanding research problem, is to be found in the question of how adaptation should be performed so as to minimize the chance of distorting the outcome of the trial. In this paper, we propose a novel method for achieving this. Unlike most of the previously published work, our approach focuses on trial adaptation by sample size adjustment, i.e. by reducing the number of trial participants in a statistically informed manner. Our key idea is to select the sample subset for removal in a manner which minimizes the associated loss of information. We formalize this notion and describe three algorithms which approach the problem in different ways, respectively, using (i) repeated random draws, (ii) a genetic algorithm, and (iii) what we term pair-wise sample compatibilities. Experiments on simulated data demonstrate the effectiveness of all three approaches, with a consistently superior performance exhibited by the pair-wise sample compatibilities-based method.
Original languageEnglish
Article number75
Number of pages9
JournalEURASIP Journal on Advances in Signal Processing
Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2017


  • RCT
  • Bayesian
  • Information


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