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Title: Composite endpoints, including patient reported outcomes, in rare diseases
Authors: VERBEECK, Johan 
Dirani, Maya
Bauer, Johann W.
Hilgers, Ralf-Dieter
Nabbout, Rima
Issue Date: 2023
Publisher: BMC
Source: Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases, 18 (1) (Art N° 262)
Abstract: BackgroundWhen assessing the efficacy of a treatment in any clinical trial, it is recommended by the International Conference on Harmonisation to select a single meaningful endpoint. However, a single endpoint is often not sufficient to reflect the full clinical benefit of a treatment in multifaceted diseases, which is often the case in rare diseases. Therefore, the use of a combination of several clinically meaningful outcomes is preferred. Many methodologies that allow for combining outcomes in a so-called composite endpoint are however limited in a number of ways, not in the least in the number and type of outcomes that can be combined and in the poor small-sample properties. Moreover, patient reported outcomes, such as quality of life, often cannot be integrated in a composite analysis, in spite of their intrinsic value.ResultsRecently, a class of non-parametric generalized pairwise comparisons tests have been proposed, which members do allow for any number and type of outcomes, including patient reported outcomes. The class enjoys good small-sample properties. Moreover, this very flexible class of methods allows for prioritizing the outcomes by clinical severity, allows for matched designs and for adding a threshold of clinical relevance. Our aim is to introduce the generalized pairwise comparison ideas and concepts for rare disease clinical trial analysis, and demonstrate their benefit in a post-hoc analysis of a small-sample trial in epidermolysis bullosa. More precisely, we will include a patient relevant outcome (Quality of life), in a composite endpoint. This publication is part of the European Joint Programme on Rare Diseases (EJP RD) series on innovative methodologies for rare diseases clinical trials, which is based on the webinars presented within the educational activity of EJP RD. This publication covers the webinar topic on composite endpoints in rare diseases and includes participants' response to a questionnaire on this topic.ConclusionsGeneralized pairwise comparisons is a promising statistical methodology for evaluating any type of composite endpoints in rare disease trials and may allow a better evaluation of therapy efficacy including patients reported outcomes in addition to outcomes related to the diseases signs and symptoms.
Notes: Verbeeck, J (corresponding author), Hasselt Univ, Data Sci Inst, Hasselt, Belgium.
Keywords: EJP-RD;Epidermolysis bullosa;Generalized pairwise comparisons;Composite endpoints;Quality of life;Rare disease;Patient reported outcomes
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e-ISSN: 1750-1172
DOI: 10.1186/s13023-023-02819-x
ISI #: 001057082300003
Rights: The Author(s) 2023. Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.
Category: A1
Type: Journal Contribution
Appears in Collections:Research publications

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