Background: Noninferiority trials are increasingly common in cardiovascular medicine, but their reporting and interpretation are challenging, particularly when an absolute risk difference is used as noninferiority margin. Objectives: This study aimed to investigate the effect of using absolute rather than relative noninferiority margins in cardiovascular trials. Methods: We reviewed noninferiority trials presented at major cardiovascular conferences from 2015 to 2022 and published within the same period. Based on the actual versus anticipated event rates in the control group, we recalculated the absolute noninferiority margin and re-assessed the trial results. The primary outcome of interest was the proportion of trials with a different interpretation after recalculation. Additionally, we analyzed the conclusion statements of these trials to determine if cautionary notes for the interpretation of study results were included. Results: We analyzed a total of 768 trials, of which 88 had a noninferiority design and 66 used an absolute noninferiority margin. Of 48 comparisons from 45 trials qualifying for the analysis, 11 (22.9%) had divergent results after recalculation of the absolute noninferiority margin based on the observed rather than anticipated event rate. Ten trials originally claiming noninferiority, did not meet it after the margin recalculation. All of them did not include statements suggesting cautionary interpretation of the study results in the conclusion section. Compared with the other trials, these displayed a larger median difference between anticipated and recalculated noninferiority margins (44.7% [IQR: 38.6%-56.7%] vs 15.3% [IQR: −1.5% to 28.9%]; P < 0.001). Conclusions: Recalculating noninferiority margins based on actual event rates, rather than anticipated ones, led to different outcomes in approximately 1 out of 4 cardiovascular trials, with most divergent trials lacking cautionary interpretation. These findings emphasize the importance of using or supplementing the relative noninferiority margin, particularly in studies with significant deviations between observed and expected event rates. This underscores the critical need for enhanced methodological and reporting standards in noninferiority trials, especially those employing absolute margins

Assessment of Noninferiority Margins in Cardiovascular Medicine Trials

Spagnolo, Marco;Laudani, Claudio;Mauro, Maria Sara;Agnello, Federica;Faro, Denise Cristiana;Legnazzi, Marco;Rochira, Carla;Scalia, Lorenzo;Capodanno, Davide
2024-01-01

Abstract

Background: Noninferiority trials are increasingly common in cardiovascular medicine, but their reporting and interpretation are challenging, particularly when an absolute risk difference is used as noninferiority margin. Objectives: This study aimed to investigate the effect of using absolute rather than relative noninferiority margins in cardiovascular trials. Methods: We reviewed noninferiority trials presented at major cardiovascular conferences from 2015 to 2022 and published within the same period. Based on the actual versus anticipated event rates in the control group, we recalculated the absolute noninferiority margin and re-assessed the trial results. The primary outcome of interest was the proportion of trials with a different interpretation after recalculation. Additionally, we analyzed the conclusion statements of these trials to determine if cautionary notes for the interpretation of study results were included. Results: We analyzed a total of 768 trials, of which 88 had a noninferiority design and 66 used an absolute noninferiority margin. Of 48 comparisons from 45 trials qualifying for the analysis, 11 (22.9%) had divergent results after recalculation of the absolute noninferiority margin based on the observed rather than anticipated event rate. Ten trials originally claiming noninferiority, did not meet it after the margin recalculation. All of them did not include statements suggesting cautionary interpretation of the study results in the conclusion section. Compared with the other trials, these displayed a larger median difference between anticipated and recalculated noninferiority margins (44.7% [IQR: 38.6%-56.7%] vs 15.3% [IQR: −1.5% to 28.9%]; P < 0.001). Conclusions: Recalculating noninferiority margins based on actual event rates, rather than anticipated ones, led to different outcomes in approximately 1 out of 4 cardiovascular trials, with most divergent trials lacking cautionary interpretation. These findings emphasize the importance of using or supplementing the relative noninferiority margin, particularly in studies with significant deviations between observed and expected event rates. This underscores the critical need for enhanced methodological and reporting standards in noninferiority trials, especially those employing absolute margins
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11769/623189
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