Optimal and maximin sample sizes for multicentre cost-effectiveness trials

A. Manju*, M.J.J.M. Candel, M.P.F. Berger

*Corresponding author for this work

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This paper deals with the optimal sample sizes for a multicentre trial in which the cost-effectiveness of two treatments in terms of net monetary benefit is studied. A bivariate random-effects model, with the treatment-by-centre interaction effect being random and the main effect of centres fixed or random, is assumed to describe both costs and effects. The optimal sample sizes concern the number of centres and the number of individuals per centre in each of the treatment conditions. These numbers maximize the efficiency or power for given research costs or minimize the research costs at a desired level of efficiency or power. Information on model parameters and sampling costs are required to calculate these optimal sample sizes. In case of limited information on relevant model parameters, sample size formulas are derived for so-called maximin sample sizes which guarantee a power level at the lowest study costs. Four different maximin sample sizes are derived based on the signs of the lower bounds of two model parameters, with one case being worst compared to others. We numerically evaluate the efficiency of the worst case instead of using others. Finally, an expression is derived for calculating optimal and maximin sample sizes that yield sufficient power to test the cost-effectiveness of two treatments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)513-539
JournalStatistical Methods in Medical Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015

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