Concordance of Results from Randomized and Observational Analyses within the Same Study: A Re-Analysis of the Women's Health Initiative Limited-Access Dataset

Mark J Bolland, Andrew Grey, Greg D Gamble, Ian R Reid
PloS One 2015, 10 (10): e0139975

BACKGROUND: Observational studies (OS) and randomized controlled trials (RCTs) often report discordant results. In the Women's Health Initiative Calcium and Vitamin D (WHI CaD) RCT, women were randomly assigned to CaD or placebo, but were permitted to use personal calcium and vitamin D supplements, creating a unique opportunity to compare results from randomized and observational analyses within the same study.

METHODS: WHI CaD was a 7-year RCT of 1g calcium/400IU vitamin D daily in 36,282 post-menopausal women. We assessed the effects of CaD on cardiovascular events, death, cancer and fracture in a randomized design- comparing CaD with placebo in 43% of women not using personal calcium or vitamin D supplements- and in a observational design- comparing women in the placebo group (44%) using personal calcium and vitamin D supplements with non-users. Incidence was assessed using Cox proportional hazards models, and results from the two study designs deemed concordant if the absolute difference in hazard ratios was ≤0.15. We also compared results from WHI CaD to those from the WHI Observational Study(WHI OS), which used similar methodology for analyses and recruited from the same population.

RESULTS: In WHI CaD, for myocardial infarction and stroke, results of unadjusted and 6/8 covariate-controlled observational analyses (age-adjusted, multivariate-adjusted, propensity-adjusted, propensity-matched) were not concordant with the randomized design results. For death, hip and total fracture, colorectal and total cancer, unadjusted and covariate-controlled observational results were concordant with randomized results. For breast cancer, unadjusted and age-adjusted observational results were concordant with randomized results, but only 1/3 other covariate-controlled observational results were concordant with randomized results. Multivariate-adjusted results from WHI OS were concordant with randomized WHI CaD results for only 4/8 endpoints.

CONCLUSIONS: Results of randomized analyses in WHI CaD were concordant with observational analyses for 5/8 endpoints in WHI CaD and 4/8 endpoints in WHI OS.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"