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Estimating Bayesian Optimal Treatment Regimes for Dichotomous Outcomes using Observational Data

by   Thomas Klausch, et al.

Optimal treatment regimes (OTR) are individualised treatment assignment strategies that identify a medical treatment as optimal given all background information available on the individual. We discuss Bayes optimal treatment regimes estimated using a loss function defined on the bivariate distribution of dichotomous potential outcomes. The proposed approach allows considering more general objectives for the OTR than maximization of an expected outcome (e.g., survival probability) by taking into account, for example, unnecessary treatment burden. As a motivating example we consider the case of oropharynx cancer treatment where unnecessary burden due to chemotherapy is to be avoided while maximizing survival chances. Assuming ignorable treatment assignment we describe Bayesian inference about the OTR including a sensitivity analysis on the unobserved partial association of the potential outcomes. We evaluate the methodology by simulations that apply Bayesian parametric and more flexible non-parametric outcome models. The proposed OTR for oropharynx cancer reduces the frequency of the more burdensome chemotherapy assignment by approximately 75 a strong increase in expected quality of life of patients.


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