Repository logo

A two-stage drop-the-losers design for time-to-event outcome using a historical control arm.

Accepted version

No Thumbnail Available



Change log


Phase II immuno-oncology clinical trials screen for efficacy an increasing number of treatments. In rare cancers, using historical control data is a pragmatic approach for speeding up clinical trials. The drop-the-losers design allows dropping off ineffective arms at interim analyses. We extended the original drop-the-losers design for a time-to-event outcome using a historical control through the one-sample log-rank statistic. Simulated trials featured three arms at the first stage, one at the second stage, nine scenarios, eight sample sizes with 5%- and 10%- nominal family-wise error rate (FWER). A numerical algorithm is provided to solve power calculations at the design stage. Our design was compared with a group of three independent single-arm trials (fixed design) with and without correction for multiplicity. Our design allowed strict control of the FWER at nominal levels while the misspecification of survival distribution and fixed design inflated the FWER up to three times the nominal level. The empirical power of our design increased with the sample size, the treatment effect and the number of effective treatments and dropped when more patients were recruited at the second stage. The fixed design with correction showed comparable power, while our design advantageously included more patients to the most promising arm. Recommendations for future applications are given. By taking advantage of the use of historical control data and a time-to-event outcome, the drop-the-losers design is a promising tool to meet the challenge of improving phase II clinical trials in immuno-oncology.



adaptive design, historical control, oncology phase II trials, one-sample log-rank, time-to-event, Humans, Medical Oncology, Neoplasms, Research Design, Sample Size, Treatment Outcome

Journal Title

Pharm Stat

Conference Name

Journal ISSN


Volume Title