Nested Markov compliance class model in the presence of time-varying noncompliance.
ABSTRACT: We consider a Markov structure for partially unobserved time-varying compliance classes in the Imbens-Rubin (1997, The Annals of Statistics 25, 305-327) compliance model framework. The context is a longitudinal randomized intervention study where subjects are randomized once at baseline, outcomes and patient adherence are measured at multiple follow-ups, and patient adherence to their randomized treatment could vary over time. We propose a nested latent compliance class model where we use time-invariant subject-specific compliance principal strata to summarize longitudinal trends of subject-specific time-varying compliance patterns. The principal strata are formed using Markov models that relate current compliance behavior to compliance history. Treatment effects are estimated as intent-to-treat effects within the compliance principal strata.
Project description:Noncompliance or non-adherence to randomized treatment is a common challenge when interpreting data from randomized clinical trials. The effect of an intervention if all participants were forced to comply with the assigned treatment (i.e., the causal effect) is often of primary scientific interest. For example, in trials of very low nicotine content (VLNC) cigarettes, policymakers are interested in their effect on smoking behavior if their use were to be compelled by regulation. A variety of statistical methods to estimate the causal effect of an intervention have been proposed, but these methods, including inverse probability of compliance weighted (IPCW) estimators, assume that participants' compliance statuses are reported without error. This is an untenable assumption when compliance is based on self-report. Biomarkers (e.g., nicotine levels in the urine) may provide more reliable indicators of compliance but cannot perfectly discriminate between compliers and non-compliers. However, by modeling the distribution of the biomarker as a mixture distribution and writing the probability of compliance as a function of the mixture components, we show how the probability of compliance can be directly estimated from the data even when compliance status is unknown. To estimate the causal effect, we develop a new approach which re-weights participants by the product of their probability of compliance given the observed data and the inverse probability of compliance given confounders. We show that our proposed estimator is consistent and asymptotically normal and show that in some situations the proposed approach is more efficient than standard IPCW estimators. We demonstrate via simulation that the proposed estimator achieves smaller bias and greater efficiency than ad hoc approaches to estimating the causal effect when compliance is measured with error. We apply our method to data from a recently completed randomized trial of VLNC cigarettes.
Project description:Cluster randomized trials (CRTs) have been widely used in field experiments treating a cluster of individuals as the unit of randomization. This study focused particularly on situations where CRTs are accompanied by a common complication, namely, treatment noncompliance or, more generally, intervention nonadherence. In CRTs, compliance may be related not only to individual characteristics but also to the environment of clusters individuals belong to. Therefore, analyses ignoring the connection between compliance and clustering may not provide valid results. Although randomized field experiments often suffer from both noncompliance and clustering of the data, these features have been studied as separate rather than concurrent problems. On the basis of Monte Carlo simulations, this study demonstrated how clustering and noncompliance may affect statistical inferences and how these two complications can be accounted for simultaneously. In particular, the effect of the intervention on individuals who not only were assigned to active intervention but also abided by this intervention assignment (complier average causal effect) was the focus. For estimation of intervention effects considering noncompliance and data clustering, an ML-EM estimation method was employed.
Project description:Identifying noncompliance in a randomized trial is challenging, but could be improved by leveraging biomarker data to identify participants that did not comply with their assigned treatment. For randomized trials of very low nicotine content (VLNC) cigarettes, the biomarker of total nicotine equivalents (TNE) could be used to identify noncompliance. Compliant participants should have lower levels of TNEs than participants that did not comply and smoked normal nicotine content cigarettes, resulting in a mixture of compliant and noncompliant participants at each dose level. Thresholds of TNE could then be identified from the compliant groups at each dose level and used to determine which study participants were compliant. Furthermore, proposed biological relationships of TNE with nicotine dose could be incorporated into improve the efficiency of estimation, but may introduce bias if misspecified. To account for multiple modeling assumptions across dose levels, we explore model averaging via reversible jump markov chain monte carlo (MCMC) within each dose level to take advantage of improvements in efficiency when the proposed relationship is true and to downweight the biological model when it is misspecified. In simulation studies, we demonstrate that model averaging in the presence of a correct biological relationship results in a decrease in the mean square error (MSE) of up to 85%, but downweights the model in dose levels where the relationship is not appropriate. We apply our approach to data from a randomized trial of VLNC cigarettes to estimate TNE thresholds and probability of compliance curves as a function of TNEs for each nicotine dose used in the trial.
Project description:Estimating causal effects from randomized controlled trials is often complicated due to participant noncompliance to randomized treatment. Although there are a variety of methods to estimate causal effects in the presence of noncompliance, they generally make the assumption that noncompliance is measured without error. This is frequently an untenable assumption, particularly when noncompliance is based on participant self-report. To overcome this issue, we treat compliance as an unobserved variable and show how to estimate the probability of compliance given a biomarker of treatment and the other observed data. We present inverse probability weighted estimators, regression-based estimators, and a doubly-robust augmented estimator that rely on the estimated probability of compliance rather than an indicator of compliance. We investigate the finite-sample properties of the estimators and their efficiency and robustness under correctly specified or misspecified models, and we apply the estimators to a recently completed trial of very low nicotine content cigarettes.
Project description:Randomized evidence for aspirin in the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD) among women is limited and suggests at most a modest effect for total CVD. Lack of compliance, however, can null-bias estimated effects. We used marginal structural models (MSMs) to estimate the etiologic effect of continuous aspirin use on CVD events among 39,876 apparently healthy female health professionals aged 45 years and older in the Women's Health Study, a randomized trial of 100 mg aspirin every other day versus placebo. As-treated analyses and MSMs controlled for time-varying determinants of aspirin use and CVD. Predictors of aspirin use differed by randomized group and prior use and included medical history, CVD risk factors, and intermediate CVD events. Previously reported intent-to-treat analyses found small non-significant effects of aspirin on total CVD (hazard ratio (HR) = 0.91, 95 % confidence interval (CI) = 0.81-1.03) and CVD mortality (HR = 0.95, 95 % CI = 0.74-1.22). As-treated analyses were similar for total CVD with a slight reduction in CVD mortality (HR = 0.88, 95 % CI = 0.67-1.16). MSMs, which adjusted for non-compliance, were similar for total CVD (HR = 0.93; 95 % CI: 0.81, 1.07) but suggested lower CVD mortality with aspirin use (HR = 0.76; 95 % CI: 0.54, 1.08). Adjusting for non-compliance had little impact on the estimated effect of aspirin on total CVD, but strengthened the effect on CVD mortality. These results support a limited effect of low-dose aspirin on total CVD in women, but potential benefit for CVD mortality.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Nearly 45% of people living at risk for lymphatic filariasis (LF) worldwide live in India. India has faced challenges obtaining the needed levels of compliance with its mass drug administration (MDA) program to interrupt LF transmission, which utilizes diethylcarbamazine (DEC) or DEC plus albendazole. Previously identified predictors of and barriers to compliance with the MDA program were used to refine a pre-MDA educational campaign. The objectives of this study were to assess the impact of these refinements and of a lymphedema morbidity management program on MDA compliance.<h4>Methods/principal findings</h4>A randomized, 30-cluster survey was performed in each of 3 areas: the community-based pre-MDA education plus community-based lymphedema management education (Com-MDA+LM) area, the community-based pre-MDA education (Com-MDA) area, and the Indian standard pre-MDA education (MDA-only) area. Compliance with the MDA program was 90.2% in Com-MDA+LM, 75.0% in Com-MDA, and 52.9% in the MDA-only areas (p<0.0001). Identified barriers to adherence included: 1) fear of side effects and 2) lack of recognition of one's personal benefit from adherence. Multivariable predictors of adherence amenable to educational intervention were: 1) knowing about the MDA in advance of its occurrence, 2) knowing everyone is at risk for LF, 3) knowing that the MDA was for LF, and 4) knowing at least one component of the lymphedema management techniques taught in the lymphedema management program.<h4>Conclusions/significance</h4>This study confirmed previously identified predictors of and barriers to compliance with India's MDA program for LF. More importantly, it showed that targeting these predictors and barriers in a timely and clear pre-MDA educational campaign can increase compliance with MDA programs, and it demonstrated, for the first time, that lymphedema management programs may also increase compliance with MDA programs.
Project description:Motivated by a potential-outcomes perspective, the idea of principal stratification has been widely recognized for its relevance in settings susceptible to posttreatment selection bias such as randomized clinical trials where treatment received can differ from treatment assigned. In one such setting, we address subtleties involved in inference for causal effects when using a key covariate to predict membership in latent principal strata. We show that when treatment received can differ from treatment assigned in both study arms, incorporating a stratum-predictive covariate can make estimates of the "complier average causal effect" (CACE) derive from observations in the two treatment arms with different covariate distributions. Adopting a Bayesian perspective and using Markov chain Monte Carlo for computation, we develop posterior checks that characterize the extent to which incorporating the pretreatment covariate endangers estimation of the CACE. We apply the method to analyze a clinical trial comparing two treatments for jaw fractures in which the study protocol allowed surgeons to overrule both possible randomized treatment assignments based on their clinical judgment and the data contained a key covariate (injury severity) predictive of treatment received.
Project description:We propose a structural mean modeling approach to obtain compliance-adjusted estimates for treatment effects in a randomized-controlled trial comparing 2 active treatments. The model relates an individual's observed outcome to his or her counterfactual untreated outcome through the observed receipt of active treatments. Our proposed estimation procedure exploits baseline covariates that predict compliance levels on each arm. We give a closed-form estimator which allows for differential and unexplained selectivity (i.e. noncausal compliance-outcome association due to unobserved confounding) as well as a nonparametric error distribution. In a simple linear model for a 2-arm trial, we show that the distinct causal parameters are identified unless covariate-specific expected compliance levels are proportional on both treatment arms. In the latter case, only a linear contrast between the 2 treatment effects is estimable and may well be of key interest. We demonstrate the method in a clinical trial comparing 2 antidepressants.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Poor reporting quality in diagnostic accuracy studies hampers an adequate judgment of the validity of the study. The Standards for Reporting of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies (STARD) statement was published to improve the reporting quality of diagnostic accuracy studies. This study aimed to evaluate the adherence of diagnostic accuracy studies published in Annals of Laboratory Medicine (ALM) to STARD 2015 and to identify directions for improvement in the reporting quality of these studies.<h4>Methods</h4>Two independent authors assessed articles published in ALM between 2012-2018 for compliance with 30 STARD 2015 checklist items to identify all eligible diagnostic accuracy studies published during this period. We included 66 diagnostic accuracy studies. A total of the fulfilled STARD items were calculated, and adherence was analyzed on an individual-item basis.<h4>Results</h4>The overall mean±SD number of STARD items reported for the included studies was 11.2±2.7. Only five (7.6%) studies adhered to more than 50% of the 30 items. No study satisfied more than 80% of the items. Large variability in adherence to reporting standards was detected across items, ranging from 0% to 100%.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Adherence to STARD 2015 is suboptimal among diagnostic accuracy studies published in ALM. Our study emphasizes the necessity of adherence to STARD to improve the reporting quality of future diagnostic accuracy studies to be published in ALM.
Project description:In some two-arm randomized trials, some participants receive the treatment assigned to the other arm as a result of technical problems, refusal of a treatment invitation, or a choice of treatment in an encouragement design. In some before-and-after studies, the availability of a new treatment changes from one time period to this next. Under assumptions that are often reasonable, the latent class instrumental variable (IV) method estimates the effect of treatment received in the aforementioned scenarios involving all-or-none compliance and all-or-none availability. Key aspects are four initial latent classes (sometimes called principal strata) based on treatment received if in each randomization group or time period, the exclusion restriction assumption (in which randomization group or time period is an instrumental variable), the monotonicity assumption (which drops an implausible latent class from the analysis), and the estimated effect of receiving treatment in one latent class (sometimes called efficacy, the local average treatment effect, or the complier average causal effect). Since its independent formulations in the biostatistics and econometrics literatures, the latent class IV method (which has no well-established name) has gained increasing popularity. We review the latent class IV method from a clinical and biostatistical perspective, focusing on underlying assumptions, methodological extensions, and applications in our fields of obstetrics and cancer research.