We propose optimal choice of the design parameters for random discontinuation designs (RDD) using a Bayesian decision-theoretic approach. We consider applications of RDDs to oncology phase II studies evaluating activity of cytostatic agents. The design consists of two stages. The preliminary open-label stage treats all patients with the new agent and identifies a possibly sensitive subpopulation. The subsequent second stage randomizes, treats, follows, and compares outcomes among patients in the identified subgroup, with randomization to either the new or a control treatment. Several tuning parameters characterize the design: the number of patients in the trial, the duration of the preliminary stage, and the duration of follow-up after randomization. We define a probability model for tumor growth, specify a suitable utility function, and develop a computational procedure for selecting the optimal tuning parameters.
© 2011, The International Biometric Society.