Efficient experimental design and nonparametric modeling of drug interaction

Front Biosci (Elite Ed). 2010 Jan 1;2:258-65. doi: 10.2741/e88.


The design and analysis of drug combination studies continue to be an area requiring further methodological developments. Faessel et al. (1998) studied the joint effects of the combinations of trimetrexate (TMQ) and the GARFT inhibitor AG2034 to inhibit the growth of HCT-8 human ileocecal adenocarcinoma cells. Their experiments provide a rich data resource to validate the performance of new experimental design and analysis methods for future experiments. In this paper, we first re-analyze the same data with a nonparametric model and briefly review the experimental design used in the original paper. By comparing the analysis results, we found that the fixed ratio design and the usage of the parametric model for estimating the interaction index are based on an assumption not supported by the data. We then show how the efficiency of the experiments would be improved had the maximal power experimental design based on uniform measures been used. The usage of the proposed maximal power experimental design is further supported by simulation studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Computer Simulation
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical*
  • Drug Interactions*
  • Glutamates
  • Humans
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Pyrimidines
  • Research Design*
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Trimetrexate


  • Glutamates
  • Pyrimidines
  • AG 2034
  • Trimetrexate