Two-sample density-based empirical likelihood tests for incomplete data in application to a pneumonia study



In clinical trials examining the incidence of pneumonia it is a common practice to measure infection via both invasive and non-invasive procedures. In the context of a recently completed randomized trial comparing two treatments the invasive procedure was only utilized in certain scenarios due to the added risk involved, and given that the level of the non-invasive procedure surpassed a given threshold. Hence, what was observed was bivariate data with a pattern of missingness in the invasive variable dependent upon the value of the observed non-invasive observation within a given pair. In order to compare two treatments with bivariate observed data exhibiting this pattern of missingness we developed a semi-parametric methodology utilizing the density-based empirical likelihood approach in order to provide a non-parametric approximation to Neyman–Pearson-type test statistics. This novel empirical likelihood approach has both a parametric and non-parametric components. The non-parametric component utilizes the observations for the non-missing cases, while the parametric component is utilized to tackle the case where observations are missing with respect to the invasive variable. The method is illustrated through its application to the actual data obtained in the pneumonia study and is shown to be an efficient and practical method.