• Likelihood score method;
  • Non-inferiority test;
  • Restricted maximum likelihood estimators;
  • Sample size determinations;
  • Stratified matched-pair study


We consider the statistical testing for non-inferiority of a new treatment compared with the standard one under matched-pair setting in a stratified study or in several trials. A non-inferiority test based on the efficient scores and a Mantel-Haenszel (M-H) like procedure with restricted maximum likelihood estimators (RMLEs) of nuisance parameters and their corresponding sample size formulae are presented. We evaluate the above tests and the M-H type Wald test in level and power. The stratified score test is conservative and provides the best power. The M-H like procedure with RMLEs gives an accurate level. However, the Wald test is anti-conservative and we suggest caution when it is used. The unstratified score test is not biased but it is less powerful than the stratified score test when base-line probabilities related to strata are not the same. This investigation shows that the stratified score test possesses optimum statistical properties in testing non-inferiority. A common difference between two proportions across strata is the basic assumption of the stratified tests, we present appropriate tests to validate the assumption and related remarks. (© 2006 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim)