On the catch-up time method for analyzing cancer screening trials

Ruth Etzioni, S. G. Self

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In randomized cancer screening trials, the ratio of the mortality rate for the screened group to that for the control group is typically not constant as a function of years from randomization. This is due to an initial lag effect, but also to a dilution effect that results from the accrual of comparable cases in both groups after the end of the screening period. In order to combat the potential loss of power when applying conventional analysis tools, specifically the logrank test, Aron and Prorok (International Journal of Epidemiology 15, 36-43), have advocated analyzing the mortality experience using only the subcohort of cases ascertained within a given time period. However, it is not clear how to select an appropriate case ascertainment point, since this will depend on aspects of the natural history of the disease process which are poorly identified. Aron and Prorok suggest choosing the case ascertainment point to be the point at which the cumulative number of cases in the control group first becomes equal to that in the intervention group, that is, the 'catch-up time.' In this paper, we undertake a thorough evaluation of the bias and power properties of the catch-up time method. We base our study on simulated data resembling the Health Insurance Plan of Greater New York study cohort. We consider several models for postdiagnosis survival under the null hypothesis of no screening effect on mortality, and under the alternative hypothesis of an effect of screening. We show that the catch-up method can yield tests with sizeable bias. In the absence of detailed knowledge about the underlying disease process, we suggest some adaptive tests that maintain nominal size but have more attractive power properties than the standard logrank test.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-43
Number of pages13
JournalBiometrics
Volume51
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - May 30 1995
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Early Detection of Cancer
Screening
Cancer
screening
neoplasms
Mortality
Log-rank Test
Control Groups
testing
Health insurance
Health Insurance
Random Allocation
health insurance
Epidemiology
Adaptive Test
Cohort Studies
cohort studies
methodology
Cohort Study
Mortality Rate

Keywords

  • Breast cancer
  • Cancer screening
  • Lead time
  • Logrank test
  • Sojourn time
  • Statistical modeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Statistics and Probability

Cite this

On the catch-up time method for analyzing cancer screening trials. / Etzioni, Ruth; Self, S. G.

In: Biometrics, Vol. 51, No. 1, 30.05.1995, p. 31-43.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Etzioni, Ruth ; Self, S. G. / On the catch-up time method for analyzing cancer screening trials. In: Biometrics. 1995 ; Vol. 51, No. 1. pp. 31-43.
@article{fc681f5281d5419598b8ffa97fa3b7f3,
title = "On the catch-up time method for analyzing cancer screening trials",
abstract = "In randomized cancer screening trials, the ratio of the mortality rate for the screened group to that for the control group is typically not constant as a function of years from randomization. This is due to an initial lag effect, but also to a dilution effect that results from the accrual of comparable cases in both groups after the end of the screening period. In order to combat the potential loss of power when applying conventional analysis tools, specifically the logrank test, Aron and Prorok (International Journal of Epidemiology 15, 36-43), have advocated analyzing the mortality experience using only the subcohort of cases ascertained within a given time period. However, it is not clear how to select an appropriate case ascertainment point, since this will depend on aspects of the natural history of the disease process which are poorly identified. Aron and Prorok suggest choosing the case ascertainment point to be the point at which the cumulative number of cases in the control group first becomes equal to that in the intervention group, that is, the 'catch-up time.' In this paper, we undertake a thorough evaluation of the bias and power properties of the catch-up time method. We base our study on simulated data resembling the Health Insurance Plan of Greater New York study cohort. We consider several models for postdiagnosis survival under the null hypothesis of no screening effect on mortality, and under the alternative hypothesis of an effect of screening. We show that the catch-up method can yield tests with sizeable bias. In the absence of detailed knowledge about the underlying disease process, we suggest some adaptive tests that maintain nominal size but have more attractive power properties than the standard logrank test.",
keywords = "Breast cancer, Cancer screening, Lead time, Logrank test, Sojourn time, Statistical modeling",
author = "Ruth Etzioni and Self, {S. G.}",
year = "1995",
month = "5",
day = "30",
doi = "10.2307/2533312",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "51",
pages = "31--43",
journal = "Biometrics",
issn = "0006-341X",
publisher = "Wiley-Blackwell",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - On the catch-up time method for analyzing cancer screening trials

AU - Etzioni, Ruth

AU - Self, S. G.

PY - 1995/5/30

Y1 - 1995/5/30

N2 - In randomized cancer screening trials, the ratio of the mortality rate for the screened group to that for the control group is typically not constant as a function of years from randomization. This is due to an initial lag effect, but also to a dilution effect that results from the accrual of comparable cases in both groups after the end of the screening period. In order to combat the potential loss of power when applying conventional analysis tools, specifically the logrank test, Aron and Prorok (International Journal of Epidemiology 15, 36-43), have advocated analyzing the mortality experience using only the subcohort of cases ascertained within a given time period. However, it is not clear how to select an appropriate case ascertainment point, since this will depend on aspects of the natural history of the disease process which are poorly identified. Aron and Prorok suggest choosing the case ascertainment point to be the point at which the cumulative number of cases in the control group first becomes equal to that in the intervention group, that is, the 'catch-up time.' In this paper, we undertake a thorough evaluation of the bias and power properties of the catch-up time method. We base our study on simulated data resembling the Health Insurance Plan of Greater New York study cohort. We consider several models for postdiagnosis survival under the null hypothesis of no screening effect on mortality, and under the alternative hypothesis of an effect of screening. We show that the catch-up method can yield tests with sizeable bias. In the absence of detailed knowledge about the underlying disease process, we suggest some adaptive tests that maintain nominal size but have more attractive power properties than the standard logrank test.

AB - In randomized cancer screening trials, the ratio of the mortality rate for the screened group to that for the control group is typically not constant as a function of years from randomization. This is due to an initial lag effect, but also to a dilution effect that results from the accrual of comparable cases in both groups after the end of the screening period. In order to combat the potential loss of power when applying conventional analysis tools, specifically the logrank test, Aron and Prorok (International Journal of Epidemiology 15, 36-43), have advocated analyzing the mortality experience using only the subcohort of cases ascertained within a given time period. However, it is not clear how to select an appropriate case ascertainment point, since this will depend on aspects of the natural history of the disease process which are poorly identified. Aron and Prorok suggest choosing the case ascertainment point to be the point at which the cumulative number of cases in the control group first becomes equal to that in the intervention group, that is, the 'catch-up time.' In this paper, we undertake a thorough evaluation of the bias and power properties of the catch-up time method. We base our study on simulated data resembling the Health Insurance Plan of Greater New York study cohort. We consider several models for postdiagnosis survival under the null hypothesis of no screening effect on mortality, and under the alternative hypothesis of an effect of screening. We show that the catch-up method can yield tests with sizeable bias. In the absence of detailed knowledge about the underlying disease process, we suggest some adaptive tests that maintain nominal size but have more attractive power properties than the standard logrank test.

KW - Breast cancer

KW - Cancer screening

KW - Lead time

KW - Logrank test

KW - Sojourn time

KW - Statistical modeling

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=0029001369&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=0029001369&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.2307/2533312

DO - 10.2307/2533312

M3 - Article

VL - 51

SP - 31

EP - 43

JO - Biometrics

JF - Biometrics

SN - 0006-341X

IS - 1

ER -