A two-stage prediction model for heterogeneous effects of many treatment options: application to drugs for Multiple Sclerosis
Treatment effects vary across different patients and estimation of this variability is important for clinical decisions. The aim is to develop a model to estimate the benefit of alternative treatment options for individual patients. Hence, we developed a two-stage prediction model for heterogeneous treatment effects, by combining prognosis research and network meta-analysis methods when individual patient data is available. In a first stage, we develop a prognostic model and we predict the baseline risk of the outcome. In the second stage, we use this baseline risk score from the first stage as a single prognostic factor and effect modifier in a network meta-regression model. We apply the approach to a network meta-analysis of three randomized clinical trials comparing the relapse rate in Natalizumab, Glatiramer Acetate and Dimethyl Fumarate including 3590 patients diagnosed with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. We find that the baseline risk score modifies the relative and absolute treatment effects. Several patient characteristics such as age and disability status impact on the baseline risk of relapse, and this in turn moderates the benefit that may be expected for each of the treatments. For high-risk patients, the treatment that minimizes the risk to relapse in two years is Natalizumab, whereas for low-risk patients Dimethyl Fumarate Fumarate might be a better option. Our approach can be easily extended to all outcomes of interest and has the potential to inform a personalised treatment approach.