Two-Way Minimization: A Novel Treatment Allocation Method for Small TrialsReport as inadecuate

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Randomization is a hallmark of clinical trials. If a trial entails very few subjects and has many prognostic factors or many factor levels to be balanced, minimization is a more efficient method to achieve balance than a simple randomization. We propose a novel minimization method, the ‘two-way minimization’. The method separately calculates the ‘imbalance in the total numbers of subjects’ and the ‘imbalance in the distributions of prognostic factors’. And then to allocate a subject, it chooses—by probability—to minimize either one of these two aspects of imbalances. As such, it is a method that is both treatment-adaptive and covariate-adaptive. We perform Monte-Carlo simulations to examine its statistical properties. The two-way minimization with proper regression adjustment of the force-balanced prognostic factors has the correct type I error rates. It also produces point estimates that are unbiased and variance estimates that are accurate. When there are important prognostic factors to be balanced in the study, the method achieves the highest power and the smallest variance among randomization methods that are resistant to selection bias. The allocation can be done in real time and the subsequent data analysis is straightforward. The two-way minimization is recommended to balance prognostic factors in small trials.

Author: Lan-Hsin Chen, Wen-Chung Lee



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