Modeling the relationship between progression-free survival and overall survival: the phase II/III trial.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Clinical cancer research : an official journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, Volume 19, Issue 10, p.2646-56 (2013)


2013, June 2013, Public Health Sciences Division


The standard phase II trial design has changed dramatically over the past decade. Randomized phase II studies have essentially become the standard phase II design in oncology for a variety of reasons. The use of these designs is motivated by concerns about the use of historical data to determine if a new agent or regimen shows promise of activity. However, randomized phase II designs come with the cost of increased study duration and patient resources. Progression-free survival (PFS) is an important endpoint used in many phase II designs. In many clinical settings, changes in PFS with the introduction of a new treatment may represent true benefit in terms of the gold standard outcome, overall survival (OS). The phase II/III design has been proposed as an approach to shorten the time of discovery of an active regimen. In this article, design considerations for a phase II/III trial are discussed and presented in terms of a model defining the relationship between OS and PFS. The design is also evaluated using 15 phase III trials completed in the Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG) between 1990 and 2005. The model provides a framework to evaluate the validity and properties of using a phase II/III design. In the evaluation of SWOG trials, three of four positive studies would have also proceeded to the final analysis and 10 of 11 negative studies would have stopped at the phase II analysis if a phase II/III design had been used. Through careful consideration and thorough evaluation of design properties, substantial gains could occur using this approach.