Statistical approaches to interim monitoring of medical trials: A review and commentary

Christopher Jennison, Bruce W. Turnbull

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Most medical trials are monitored for early evidence of treatment differences or harmful side effects. In this paper we review and critique various statistical approaches that have been proposed for the design and analysis of sequential experiments in medical applications. We discuss group sequential tests, stochastic curtailment, repeated confidence intervals, and Bayesian procedures. The role that a statistical stopping rule should play in the final analysis is examined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-317
Number of pages19
JournalStatistical Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 1990


  • Bayesian inference
  • Group sequential test
  • Interim analyses
  • Repeated confidence intervals
  • Repeated P-values
  • Repeated significance test
  • Sequential design
  • Stochastic curtailment
  • Stopping rule

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Mathematics(all)
  • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty


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