Statistical approaches to experimental design and data analysis of in vivo studies

Breast Cancer Res Treat. Nov-Dec 1997;46(2-3):279-302. doi: 10.1023/a:1005946614343.


The objective of any experiment is to obtain an unbiased and precise estimate of a treatment effect in an efficient manner. Statistical aspects of the design, conduct, and analysis of the experiment play a major role in determining whether this goal is met. We highlight some of the more important statistical issues that pertain to in vivo studies. Particular emphasis is placed on the role of randomization, the number of animals, the utilization of repeated measures data, adjustments for missing data, and dealing with multiple causes of death or treatment failure. The discussion is not intended to be a comprehensive guide to all the statistical issues that can occur in animal experiments. Rather, the objective is to acquaint researchers with components of the experiment that will require careful statistical thought.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical*
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / pathology
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / therapy
  • Random Allocation
  • Research Design*
  • Statistics as Topic / methods*