Open Access from Pharmaceutical Statistics: Performance of phase-I dose finding designs with and without a run-in intra-patient dose escalation stage

Every week, we select a recently published Open Access article to feature. This week’s article is from Pharmaceutical Statistics and investigates dose-finding designs for phase-I trials. 

The article’s abstract is given below, with the full article available to read here. 

Dose-finding designs for phase-I trials aim to determine the recommended phase-II dose (RP2D) for further phase-II drug development. If the trial includes patients for whom several lines of standard therapy failed or if the toxicity of the investigated agent does not necessarily increase with dose, optimal dose-finding designs should limit the frequency of treatment with suboptimal doses. We propose a two-stage design strategy with a run-in intra-patient dose escalation part followed by a more traditional dose-finding design. We conduct simulation studies to compare the 3 + 3 design, the Bayesian Optimal Interval Design (BOIN) and the Continual Reassessment Method (CRM) with and without intra-patient dose escalation. The endpoints are accuracy, sample size, safety, and therapeutic efficiency. For scenarios where the correct RP2D is the highest dose, inclusion of an intra-patient dose escalation stage generally increases accuracy and therapeutic efficiency. However, for scenarios where the correct RP2D is below the highest dose, intra-patient dose escalation designs lead to increased risk of overdosing and an overestimation of RP2D. The magnitude of the change in operating characteristics after including an intra-patient stage is largest for the 3 + 3 design, decreases for the BOIN and is smallest for the CRM.

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