Most new drug development in oncology is based on targeting specific molecules. Genomic profiles and deregulated drug targets vary from patient to patient making new treatments likely to benefit only a subset of patients traditionally grouped in the same clinical trials. Predictive biomarkers are being developed to identify patients who are most likely to benefit from a particular treatment; however, their biological basis is not always conclusive. The inclusion of marker-negative patients in a trial is therefore sometimes necessary for a more informative evaluation of the therapy. In this paper, we present a two-stage Bayesian design that includes both marker-positive and marker-negative patients in a clinical trial. We formulate a family of prior distributions that represent the degree of a priori confidence in the predictive biomarker. To avoid exposing patients to a treatment to which they may not be expected to benefit, we perform an interim analysis that may stop accrual of marker-negative patients or accrual of all patients. We demonstrate with simulations that the design and priors used control type I errors, give adequate power, and enable the early futility analysis of test-negative patients to be based on prior specification on the strength of evidence in the biomarker.
Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.