Repository logo

Generalisations of a Bayesian decision-theoretic randomisation procedure and the impact of delayed responses.

Published version



Change log


Williamson, S Faye 
Jacko, Peter 


The design of sequential experiments and, in particular, randomised controlled trials involves a trade-off between operational characteristics such as statistical power, estimation bias and patient benefit. The family of randomisation procedures referred to as Constrained Randomised Dynamic Programming (CRDP), which is set in the Bayesian decision-theoretic framework, can be used to balance these competing objectives. A generalisation and novel interpretation of CRDP is proposed to highlight its inherent flexibility to adapt to a variety of practicalities and align with individual trial objectives. CRDP, as with most response-adaptive randomisation procedures, hinges on the limiting assumption of patient responses being available before allocation of the next patient. This forms one of the greatest barriers to their implementation in practice which, despite being an important research question, has not received a thorough treatment. Therefore, motivated by the existing gap between the theory of response-adaptive randomisation (which is abundant with proposed methods in the immediate response setting) and clinical practice (in which responses are typically delayed), the performance of CRDP in the presence of fixed and random delays is evaluated. Simulation results show that CRDP continues to offer patient benefit gains over alternative procedures and is relatively robust to delayed responses. To compensate for a fixed delay, a method which adjusts the time horizon used in the optimisation objective is proposed and its performance illustrated.



Bayesian decision-theoretic model, Clinical trials, Delayed responses, Dynamic programming, Response-adaptive randomisation

Journal Title

Comput Stat Data Anal

Conference Name

Journal ISSN


Volume Title



Elsevier BV
Medical Research Council (MC_UU_00002/14)