Optimal adaptive two-stage designs for early phase II clinical trials

Document Type



Simon's optimal two-stage design has been widely used in early phase clinical trials for Oncology and AIDS studies with binary endpoints. With this approach, the second-stage sample size is fixed when the trial passes the first stage with sufficient activity. Adaptive designs, such as those due to Banerjee and Tsiatis (2006) and Englert and Kieser (2013), are flexible in the sense that the second-stage sample size depends on the response from the first stage, and these designs are often seen to reduce the expected sample size under the null hypothesis as compared with Simon's approach. An unappealing trait of the existing designs is that they are not associated with a second-stage sample size, which is a non-increasing function of the first-stage response rate. In this paper, an efficient intelligent process, the branch-and-bound algorithm, is used in extensively searching for the optimal adaptive design with the smallest expected sample size under the null, while the type I and II error rates are maintained and the aforementioned monotonicity characteristic is respected. The proposed optimal design is observed to have smaller expected sample sizes compared to Simon's optimal design, and the maximum total sample size of the proposed adaptive design is very close to that from Simon's method. The proposed optimal adaptive two-stage design is recommended for use in practice to improve the flexibility and efficiency of early phase therapeutic development. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.