Baseline EDSS proportions in MS clinical trials affect the overall outcome and power: A cautionary note

Academic Article


  • Background: In randomized clinical trials, when treatments do not work equally effectively across stratifications of participants, observed event rates may differ from those hypothesized leading to deviations in estimated power. Objectives: To investigate the effect of distributions of baseline Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) proportions in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) on the trial outcome, confirmed disability progression rate (CDPR), and power. Methods: We reported CDPRs in the CombiRx trial by baseline EDSS and by groups (1st (0, 1), 2nd (1.5, 2), 3rd (2.5, 3), and 4th (≥3/43.5)) and investigated the effect of different combinations of baseline EDSS proportions on the trial outcome and power. Results: There were 244 (25.4%) participants in the 1st group, 368 (38.4%) in the 2nd group, 223 (23.3%) in the 3rd group, and 124 (12.9%) in the 4th group with CDPRs of 40.1%, 13.9%, 11.2%, and 16.9%, respectively. Both CDPR and power increased when the proportion of the 1st group increased in hypothetical trials with equal sample sizes in each arm, and a 10% increase in the 1st group led to a 5% increase in power. Conclusion: Various baseline EDSS proportions yielded different CDPRs and power, suggesting caution in interpretation of treatment effects across trials that enrolled participants with different proportions of baseline EDSS.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Wang G; Cutter GR; Cofield SS; Lublin F; Wolinsky JS; Gustafson T; Krieger S; Salter A
  • Start Page

  • 982
  • End Page

  • 987
  • Volume

  • 23
  • Issue

  • 7