The Cytel blog keeps you up to speed with the latest developments in biostatistics and clinical biometrics.
By Ashwini Joshi
For small sample data or rare events data, exact non-parametric tests perform better than asymptotic tests. But they come with the disadvantage of conservativeness. Many corrections have been suggested to reduce this conservativeness but none of them solve the problems entirely. StatXact provides various methods of computing exact p-values. Depending upon the problem at hand, the user can decide which one to use.
Let’s consider a hypothetical example of stratified count data. The example shows two sample data with two strata. Events in Treatment1 are rare as compared to the ones in Treatment0. But the event rates are comparable.
Inference on Confidence Intervals for Adaptive Designs: The Latest Breed of Adaptive Clinical Trials
Most people familiar with adaptive clinical trial designs are familiar with those statistical designs that reject the null hypothesis. These include now familiar designs like the promising zone design and the adaptive switch design.
A newer breed of adaptive designs, however, aims to apply adaptation techniques to confidence intervals.
For the second installment of our StatXact 25th Anniversary Retrospective Series, Professor Joan Hilton (UC San Francisco) reflects on her pioneering work on exact conditional inferences.
The core methodological problem that would eventually spur the development of Cytel’s StatXact software was first posed by Harvard’s Marvin Zelen at a computational seminar in the late 1970s. Zelen, a distinguished professor of statistical sciences and head of the Department of Biostatistics at Harvard University, was also serving as the Director of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.
The analysis of serious adverse events from cytotoxic agents in oncology trials were heavily dependent on an imprecise Cochran rule to measure the signifincance of small sample categorical data. The crude calculation meant that estimations of p-values were wide off the mark. Zelen challenged his students to find ways to expand Fisher’s exact test to r x c contingency tables, and by doing so to seal the promise of more effective development and delivery of urgent cancer treatments.
Cyrus Mehta and Nitin Patel took up Zelen’s challenge, publishing a series of papers on exact significance testing throughout the 1980s. Despite offering novel statistical solutions to persisting problems, the implementation of such solutions clearly required assistance from software. Unfortunately, few venture capitalists were willing to invest in a package of arcane statistical tests that were largely still in development.
Cytel was created with a grant from the National Cancer Institute, with a view to developing software that would make newer exact tests widely available for clinical studies. Its first software package, StatXact, is now used for exact testing in oncology, as well as environmental studies, public health, demography, law, and several areas of medicine and clinical development. The widespread use of exact tests has led to an array of intriguing research questions involving the power of various exact tests. Below we present a favorite finding, on the power of conditional versus unconditional exact tests: