We propose a Bayesian hierarchical monitoring design for single-arm phase II clinical trials of cancer treatments that incorporates the information on the duration of response (DOR) into the monitoring rules. To screen a new treatment by evaluating its preliminary therapeutic effect, futility monitoring rules are commonly used in phase II clinical trials to make “go/no-go” decisions timely and efficiently. These futility monitoring rules are usually focused on a single outcome (eg, response rate), although a single outcome may not adequately determine the efficacy of the experimental treatment. For example, targeted agents with a long response duration but a similar response rate may be worth further evaluation in cancer research. To address this issue, we propose Bayesian hierarchical futility monitoring rules to consider both the response rate and duration. The first level of monitoring evaluates whether the response rate provides evidence that the experimental treatment is worthy of further evaluation. If the evidence from the response rate does not support continuing the trial, the second level monitoring rule, which is based on the DOR, will be triggered. If both stopping rules are satisfied, the trial will be stopped for futility. We conducted simulation studies to evaluate the operating characteristics of the proposed monitoring rules and compared them to those of standard method. We illustrated the proposed design with a single-arm phase II cancer clinical trial to assess the safety and efficacy of combined treatment of nivolumab and azacitidine in patients with relapsed/refractory acute myeloid leukemia. The proposed design avoids an aggressive early termination for futility when the experimental treatment substantially prolongs the DOR but fails to improve the response rate.
- Bayesian hierarchical futility monitoring rules
- duration of response
- response rate
- single-arm phase II clinical trial
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Statistics and Probability