Nevin Manimala Statistics

Methods and reagent-lot comparisons by regression analysis: sample size considerations

Ann Clin Biochem. 2024 Apr 17:45632241252006. doi: 10.1177/00045632241252006. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Parametric regression analysis is widely used in methods comparisons and more recently in checking the concordance of test results following receipt of new reagent lots. The greater frequency of reagent-lot evaluations increases pressure to detect bias with smallest possible sample sizes (i.e. smallest consumption of time and resources). This study revisits bias detection using the joint slope, intercept confidence region as an alternative to slope and intercept confidence intervals.

METHODS: Four cases were considered representing constant errors, proportional errors (constant CV) and two more complicated error patterns typical of immunoassays. Maximum:minimum range ratios varied from 2:1 to 2000:1. After setting a maximum tolerable difference a series of slope, intercept combinations, each of which predicted the critical difference, were systematically evaluated in simulations which determined the minimum sample size required to detect the difference, firstly using slope, intercept confidence intervals and secondly using the joint slope, intercept confidence region.

RESULTS: At small to moderate range ratios, bias detection by joint confidence region required greatly reduced sample sizes to the extent that it should encourage reagent-lot evaluations or, alternatively, transform those already routinely performed into considerably less costly exercises.

CONCLUSIONS: While some software is available to calculate joint confidence regions in real-life analyses, shifting this testing method into the mainstream will require a greater number of software developers incorporating the necessary code into their regression programs. The computer program used to conduct this study is freely available and can be used to model any laboratory test.

PMID:38631810 | DOI:10.1177/00045632241252006

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