A measure of the proportion of treatment effect explained by a surrogate marker.


Randomized clinical trials with rare primary endpoints or long duration times are costly. Because of this, there has been increasing interest in replacing the true endpoint with an earlier measured marker. However, surrogate markers must be appropriately validated. A quantitative measure for the proportion of treatment effect explained by the marker in a specific trial is a useful concept. Freedman, Graubard, and Schatzkin (1992, Statistics in Medicine 11, 167-178) suggested such a measure of surrogacy by the ratio of regression coefficients for the treatment indicator from two separate models with or without adjusting for the surrogate marker. However, it has been shown that this measure is very variable and there is no guarantee that the two models both fit. In this article, we propose alternative measures of the proportion explained that adapts an idea in Tsiatis, DeGruttola, and Wulfsohn (1995, Journal of the American Statistical Association 90, 27-37). The new measures require fewer assumptions in estimation and allow more flexibility in modeling. The estimates of these different measures are compared using data from an ophthalmology clinical trial and a series of simulation studies. The results suggest that the new measures are less variable.

  • Taylor JM
  • Wang Y
PubMed ID
Appears In
Biometrics, 2002, 58 (4)