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Contemp Clin Trials. 2013 Nov;36(2):587-96. doi: 10.1016/j.cct.2013.03.011. Epub 2013 Apr 11.

A two-stage Bayesian design with sample size reestimation and subgroup analysis for phase II binary response trials.

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Department of Biostatistics, Genentech, Inc., 1 DNA Way, South San Francisco, CA 94080, United States.


Frequentist sample size determination for binary outcome data in a two-arm clinical trial requires initial guesses of the event probabilities for the two treatments. Misspecification of these event rates may lead to a poor estimate of the necessary sample size. In contrast, the Bayesian approach that considers the treatment effect to be random variable having some distribution may offer a better, more flexible approach. The Bayesian sample size proposed by (Whitehead et al., 2008) for exploratory studies on efficacy justifies the acceptable minimum sample size by a "conclusiveness" condition. In this work, we introduce a new two-stage Bayesian design with sample size reestimation at the interim stage. Our design inherits the properties of good interpretation and easy implementation from Whitehead et al. (2008), generalizes their method to a two-sample setting, and uses a fully Bayesian predictive approach to reduce an overly large initial sample size when necessary. Moreover, our design can be extended to allow patient level covariates via logistic regression, now adjusting sample size within each subgroup based on interim analyses. We illustrate the benefits of our approach with a design in non-Hodgkin lymphoma with a simple binary covariate (patient gender), offering an initial step toward within-trial personalized medicine.


Bayesian design; Clinical trial; Personalized medicine; Predictive approach; Sample size reestimation; Subgroup analysis

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