American Statistical Association
New York City
Metropolitan Area Chapter

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
Biostatistics Seminar

Richard J. Chappell
University of Wisconsin - Madison


Equivalence trials are experiments which attempt to show that one intervention is not too much inferior to another on some quantitative scale. The cutoff value is commonly denoted as Delta. For example, one might wish to show that the hazard ratio of disease-free survival among patients given an experimental chemotherapy versus a currently approved regimen is Delta = 1.3 or less, especially if the former is thought to be less toxic than or otherwise advantageous over the latter.

Naturally, a lot of attention is given to choice of Delta. In addition to this, I assert that even more than in superiority clinical trials the scale of Delta in equivalence trials must be carefully chosen. Since null hypotheses in superiority studies generally imply no effect, they are often identical or at least compatible when formulated on different scales. However, nonzero Deltas on one scale usually conflict with those on another. For example, the four hypotheses of arithmetic or multiplicative differences of either survival or hazard in general all mean different things unless Delta = 0 for differences or 1 for ratios. This can lead to problems in interpretation when the clinically natural scale is not a statistically convenient one.

In addition to this topic, I will devote a fair amount of time to background issues in noninferiority studies.

Date: Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Time: 4:00 - 5:00 P.M.
Location: Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics
307 East 63rd Street
(between First and Second Avenues)
Room 331
New York, New York
Note: To gain access to the building, please follow the directions by the telephone in the foyer.


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