Sequential multiple assignment randomized trials (SMARTs) are increasingly being used to inform clinical and intervention science. In a SMART, each patient is repeatedly randomized over time. Each randomization occurs at a critical decision point in the treatment course. These critical decision points often correspond to milestones in the disease process or other changes in a patient's health status. Thus, the timing and number of randomizations may vary across patients and depend on evolving patient-specific information. This presents unique challenges when analyzing data from a SMART in the presence of missing data. This paper presents the first comprehensive discussion of missing data issues typical of SMART studies: we describe five specific challenges and propose a flexible imputation strategy to facilitate valid statistical estimation and inference using incomplete data from a SMART. To illustrate these contributions, we consider data from the Clinical Antipsychotic Trial of Intervention and Effectiveness, one of the most well-known SMARTs to date.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00140001.
Keywords: dynamic treatment regimes; individualized treatment; missing data; multiple imputation; sequential multiple assignment randomized trials; treatment policies.
Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.