Phase III precision medicine clinical trial designs that integrate treatment and biomarker evaluation

Mei Yin C. Polley, Edward L. Korn, Boris Freidlin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Recent advances in biotechnology and cancer genomics have afforded enormous opportunities for development of more effective anticancer therapies. A key thrust of this modern drug development paradigm is successful identification of predictive biomarkers that can distinguish patients who might be sensitive to new targeted therapies. To respond to this challenge, a number of phase III cancer trial designs integrating biomarker-based objectives have been proposed and implemented in oncology drug development. In this article, we provide an updated review of commonly used biomarker-based randomized clinical trial designs, with a particular focus on design efficiency. When the efficacy of a new therapy may be limited to a biomarker-defined subgroup, the choice of an appropriate randomized clinical trial design should be guided by the strength of the biomarker's credentials. If compelling evidence indicates that a targeted therapy is beneficial only in a particular biomarker-defined subgroup, an enrichment design should be used. If there is strong evidence that the treatment is likely to be more beneficial in the biomarker-positive patients but a meaningful benefit is also possible in the biomarker-negative patients, then a properly powered biomarker-stratified design (eg, a subgroup- specific or Marker Sequential Test strategy) would provide the most rigorous determination of the sensitive populations. If the evidence supporting the predictive value of the biomarker is weak and the treatment is expected to work in the overall population, then a fallback design could be used. Careful selection of an appropriate phase III design strategy that integrates evaluation of a new anticancer therapy and its companion diagnostic is critical to the success of precision medicine in oncology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJCO Precision Oncology
StatePublished - 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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