Impact of adaptation algorithm, timing, and stopping boundaries on the performance of Bayesian response adaptive randomization in confirmative trials with a binary endpoint

Contemp Clin Trials. 2017 Nov:62:114-120. doi: 10.1016/j.cct.2017.08.019. Epub 2017 Sep 1.


Despite the concerns of time trend in subject profiles, the use of Bayesian response adaptive randomization (BRAR) in large multicenter phase 3 confirmative trials has been reported in recent years, motivated by the potential benefits in subject ethics and/or trial efficiency. However three issues remain unclear to investigators: 1) among several BRAR algorithms, how to choose one for the specific trial setting; 2) when to start and how frequently to update the allocation ratio; and 3) how to choose the interim analyses stopping boundaries to preserve the type 1 error. In this paper, three commonly used BRAR algorithms are evaluated based on type 1 error, power, sample size, the proportion of subjects assigned to the better performing arm, and the total number of failures, under two specific trial settings and different allocation ratio update timing and frequencies. Simulation studies show that for two-arm superiority trials, none of the three BRAR algorithms has predominant benefits in both patient ethics and trial efficiency when compared to fixed equal allocation design. For a specific trial aiming to identify the best or the worst among three treatments, a properly selected BRAR algorithm and its implementation parameters are able to gain ethical and efficiency benefits simultaneously. Although the simulation results come from a specific trial setting, the methods described in this paper are generally applicable to other trials.

Keywords: Adaptive design; Allocation variability; Ethics; Multi-arm trial; Response adaptive randomization; Trial efficiency.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms*
  • Bayes Theorem*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Humans
  • Research Design*