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In some clinical scenarios, for example, severe sepsis caused by extensively drug resistant bacteria, there is uncertainty between many common treatments, but a conventional multiarm randomized trial is not possible because individual participants may not be eligible to receive certain treatments. The Personalised Randomized Controlled Trial design allows each participant to be randomized between a "personalised randomization list" of treatments that are suitable for them. The primary aim is to produce treatment rankings that can guide choice of treatment, rather than focusing on the estimates of relative treatment effects. Here we use simulation to assess several novel analysis approaches for this innovative trial design. One of the approaches is like a network meta-analysis, where participants with the same personalised randomization list are like a trial, and both direct and indirect evidence are used. We evaluate this proposed analysis and compare it with analyses making less use of indirect evidence. We also propose new performance measures including the expected improvement in outcome if the trial's rankings are used to inform future treatment rather than random choice. We conclude that analysis of a personalized randomized controlled trial can be performed by pooling data from different types of participants and is robust to moderate subgroup-by-intervention interactions based on the parameters of our simulation. The proposed approach performs well with respect to estimation bias and coverage. It provides an overall treatment ranking list with reasonable precision, and is likely to improve outcome on average if used to determine intervention policies and guide individual clinical decisions.

Original publication




Journal article


Stat Med

Publication Date



indirect evidence, network meta-analysis, personalised randomization, subgroup analysis