Two-stage clinical trial stopping rules

Biometrics. 1984 Sep;40(3):791-5.


Two-stage stopping rules for clinical trials are considered. The nominal significance level needed for the second-stage test, for any choice of first-stage significance level, is derived for rules with overall significance levels of .01 and .05 and for studies with either half or two-thirds of the patients analyzed in the first stage. A graphical demonstration is given of the inherent tradeoff between power and expected sample size (or probability of early termination). A specific rule, intermediate to those advocated by Pocock (1977, Biometrika 64, 191-199) and O'Brien and Fleming (1979, Biometrics 5, 549-556), is recommended.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Biometry*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic / methods*
  • Humans