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Continual reassessment method for dose escalation clinical trials in oncology: A comparison of prior skeleton approaches using AZD3514 data

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    Rights statement: © 2016 The Author(s). Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated

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Original languageEnglish
Article number703
JournalBMC Cancer
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2016


Background: The continual reassessment method (CRM) requires an underlying model of the dose-toxicity relationship ("prior skeleton") and there is limited guidance of what this should be when little is known about this association. In this manuscript the impact of applying the CRM with different prior skeleton approaches and the 3 + 3 method are compared in terms of ability to determine the true maximum tolerated dose (MTD) and number of patients allocated to sub-optimal and toxic doses. Methods: Post-hoc dose-escalation analyses on real-life clinical trial data on an early oncology compound (AZD3514), using the 3 + 3 method and CRM using six different prior skeleton approaches. Results: All methods correctly identified the true MTD. The 3 + 3 method allocated six patients to both sub-optimal and toxic doses. All CRM approaches allocated four patients to sub-optimal doses. No patients were allocated to toxic doses from sigmoidal, two from conservative and five from other approaches. Conclusions: Prior skeletons for the CRM for phase 1 clinical trials are proposed in this manuscript and applied to a real clinical trial dataset. Highly accurate initial skeleton estimates may not be essential to determine the true MTD, and, as expected, all CRM methods out-performed the 3 + 3 method. There were differences in performance between skeletons. The choice of skeleton should depend on whether minimizing the number of patients allocated to suboptimal or toxic doses is more important. Trial registration:NCT01162395, Trial date of first registration: July 13, 2010.

    Research areas

  • Bayesian, Clinical trial, Continual reassessment method, Oncology, Phase 1, Skeleton

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