Considerations Prior to Sample Size Calculation
As indicated in the previous chapter, sample size calculation should be performed using appropriate statistical methods or tests for hypotheses which can reflect the study objectives under the study design based on the primary study endpoint of the intended trial. As a result, some information including study design, hypotheses, mean response and the associated variability of the primary study endpoint, and the desired power at a specified a level of significance are required when performing sample size calculation. For good statistics practice, some statistical considerations such as stratification with respect to possible confounding/interaction factors, the use of a one-sided test or a two-sided test, the choice of a parallel design or a crossover design, subgroup/interim analyses and data transformation are important for performing an accurate and reliable sample size calculation. In addition, some practical issues that are commonly encountered in clinical trials, which may have an impact on sample size calculation, should also be taken into consideration when performing sample size calculation. These practical issues include unequal treatment allocation, adjustment for dropouts or covariates, mixed-up treatment codes, treatment study center imbalance, multiplicity, multiple-stage for early stopping, and sample size calculation based on rare incidence rate.