Statistics and Its Interface
Volume 9 (2016)
A modified classification tree method for personalized medicine decisions
Pages: 239 – 253
The tree-based methodology has been widely applied to identify predictors of health outcomes in medical studies. However, the classical tree-based approaches do not pay particular attention to treatment assignment and thus do not consider prediction in the context of treatment received. In recent years, attention has been shifting from average treatment effects to identifying moderators of treatment response, and tree-based approaches to identify subgroups of subjects with enhanced treatment responses are emerging. In this study, we extend and present modifications to one of these approaches (Zhang et al., 2010) to efficiently identify subgroups of subjects who respond more favorably to one treatment than another based on their baseline characteristics. We extend the algorithm by incorporating an automatic pruning step and propose a measure for assessment of the predictive performance of the constructed tree. We evaluate the proposed method through a simulation study and illustrate the approach using a data set from a clinical trial of treatments for alcohol dependence. This simple and efficient statistical tool can be used for developing algorithms for clinical decision making and personalized treatment for patients based on their characteristics.
binary tree, classification tree, decision tree, recursive partitioning, subgroup, personalized medicine, tailored treatment