The online version of this article (https://doi.org/10.1186/s12874-017-0462-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Many clinical trials focus on the comparison of the treatment effect between two or more groups concerning a rarely occurring event. In this situation, showing a relevant effect with an acceptable power requires the observation of a large number of patients over a long period of time. For feasibility issues, it is therefore often considered to include several event types of interest, non-fatal or fatal, and to combine them within a composite endpoint. Commonly, a composite endpoint is analyzed with standard survival analysis techniques by assessing the time to the first occurring event. This approach neglects that an individual may experience more than one event which leads to a loss of information. As an alternative, composite endpoints could be analyzed by models for recurrent events. There exists a number of such models, e.g. regression models based on count data or Cox-based models such as the approaches of Andersen and Gill, Prentice, Williams and Peterson or, Wei, Lin and Weissfeld. Although some of the methods were already compared within the literature there exists no systematic investigation for the special requirements regarding composite endpoints.
Within this work a simulation-based comparison of recurrent event models applied to composite endpoints is provided for different realistic clinical trial scenarios.
We demonstrate that the Andersen-Gill model and the Prentice- Williams-Petersen models show similar results under various data scenarios whereas the Wei-Lin-Weissfeld model delivers effect estimators which can considerably deviate under commonly met data scenarios.
Based on the conducted simulation study, this paper helps to understand the pros and cons of the investigated methods in the context of composite endpoints and provides therefore recommendations for an adequate statistical analysis strategy and a meaningful interpretation of results.
Additional file 1 Entitled Additional File to the Article ’A Systematic Comparison of Recurrent Event Models for Application to Composite Endpoints’ and provides R-Code for an easy implementation of the Andersen-Gill, Prentice-Williams-Peterson, and Wei-Lin Weissfeld models as well as the Bayesian Information Criterion for the simulated scenarios. (PDF 192 kb)12874_2017_462_MOESM1_ESM.pdf
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- A systematic comparison of recurrent event models for application to composite endpoints
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