Correlation of single arm versus randomised phase 2 oncology trial characteristics with phase 3 outcome
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BACKGROUND AND AIM: The primary aim of this study was to determine whether randomised phase 2 (RP2) trials predict phase 3 trial outcome better than single arm phase 2 (SAP2) studies. Although theoretical superiority of RP2 trials has been postulated, no empiric studies have been conducted. METHODS: Published phase 3 trials testing systemic cancer therapy were identified through a Medline search. Those of superiority design, which cited phase 2 trials supporting the experimental arm, were included. Trial design and outcome details were extracted. Statistical analysis was performed using the Generalized Estimating Equation method correlating phase 2 features with phase 3 outcome, accounting for any phase 3 duplication. RESULTS: Of 189 eligible phase 3 trials, 18.5% were in haematological malignancies and 81.5% in solid tumors. The primary outcome was positive in 79 (41.8%). These were supported by 336 phase 2 trials (range 1-9 per phase 3 trial) including 66 RP2 trials. Positive phase 2 outcome, randomised or not, correlated with positive phase 3 outcome (p=0.03). RP2 studies were not superior to SAP2 studies at predicting phase 3 study success. Phase 2 trial features not predictive of phase 3 outcome included primary endpoint, sponsorship, sample size, similarity in patient population and therapy. CONCLUSIONS: RP2 studies were not superior to SAP2 trials at predicting phase 3 study success. Further research into phase 2 trial design is required given the added resources required to conduct RP2 studies and the lack of empiric evidence supporting superiority over single arm studies.
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