Exploring heterogeneity in clinical trials with latent class analysis
Case-mix is common in clinical trials and treatment effect can vary across different subgroups. Conventionally, a subgroup analysis is performed by dividing the overall study population by one or two grouping variables. It is usually impossible to explore complex high-order intersections among confounding variables. Latent class analysis (LCA) provides a framework to identify latent classes by observed manifest variables. Distal clinical outcomes and treatment effect can be different across these classes. This paper provides a step-by-step tutorial on how to perform LCA with R. A simulated dataset is generated to illustrate the process. In the example, the classify-analyze approach is employed to explore the differential treatment effects on distal outcomes across latent classes.