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Stratified Fisher's exact test and its sample size calculation


  • Sin-Ho Jung

    Corresponding author
    1. Samsung Cancer Research Institute, Samsung Medical Center, Seoul, Korea
    2. Department of Biotatistics and Bioinformatics, Duke University, Durham, USA
    • Corresponding author: e-mail:, Phone: +1-919-668-8658; Fax: +1-919-668-5888

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Chi-squared test has been a popular approach to the analysis of a 2 × 2 table when the sample sizes for the four cells are large. When the large sample assumption does not hold, however, we need an exact testing method such as Fisher's test. When the study population is heterogeneous, we often partition the subjects into multiple strata, so that each stratum consists of homogeneous subjects and hence the stratified analysis has an improved testing power. While Mantel–Haenszel test has been widely used as an extension of the chi-squared test to test on stratified 2 × 2 tables with a large-sample approximation, we have been lacking an extension of Fisher's test for stratified exact testing. In this paper, we discuss an exact testing method for stratified 2 × 2 tables that is simplified to the standard Fisher's test in single 2 × 2 table cases, and propose its sample size calculation method that can be useful for designing a study with rare cell frequencies.