Statistics in Oncology Clinical Trials

Adaptive clinical trial designs in oncology

Yong Zang, J. Jack Lee


Adaptive designs have become popular in clinical trial and drug development. Unlike traditional trial designs, adaptive designs use accumulating data to modify the ongoing trial without undermining the integrity and validity of the trial. As a result, adaptive designs provide a flexible and effective way to conduct clinical trials. The designs have potential advantages of improving the study power, reducing sample size and total cost, treating more patients with more effective treatments, identifying efficacious drugs for specific subgroups of patients based on their biomarker profiles, and shortening the time for drug development. In this article, we review adaptive designs commonly used in clinical trials and investigate several aspects of the designs, including the dose-finding scheme, interim analysis, adaptive randomization, biomarker-guided randomization, and seamless designs. For illustration, we provide examples of real trials conducted with adaptive designs. We also discuss practical issues from the perspective of using adaptive designs in oncology trials.

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