Consider a longitudinal observational or controlled study in which one collects chronological data over time on n randomly sampled subjects. The time-dependent process one observes on each randomly sampled subject contains time-dependent covariates, time-dependent treatment actions, and an outcome process or single final outcome of interest. A statically optimal individualized treatment rule (as introduced in van der Laan, Petersen & Joffe (2005), Petersen & van der Laan (2006)) is a (unknown) treatment rule which at any point in time conditions on a user-supplied subset of the past, computes the future static treatment regimen that maximizes a (conditional) mean future outcome of interest, and applies the first treatment action of the latter regimen. In particular, Petersen & van der Laan (2006) clarified that, in order to be statically optimal, an individualized treatment rule should not depend on the observed treatment mechanism. Petersen & van der Laan (2006) further developed estimators of statically optimal individualized treatment rules based on a past capturing all confounding of past treatment history on outcome. In practice, however, one typically wishes to find individualized treatment rules responding to a user-supplied subset of the complete observed history, which may not be sufficient to capture all confounding. The current article provides an important advance on Petersen & van der Laan (2006) by developing locally efficient double robust estimators of statically optimal individualized treatment rules responding to such a user-supplied subset of the past. However, failure to capture all confounding comes at a price; the static optimality of the resulting rules becomes origin-specific. We explain origin-specific static optimality, and discuss the practical importance of the proposed methodology. We further present the results of a data analysis in which we estimate a statically optimal rule for switching antiretroviral therapy among patients infected with resistant HIV virus.


Statistical Methodology | Statistical Theory