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      What are biomarkers? :

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      Current Opinion in HIV and AIDS
      Ovid Technologies (Wolters Kluwer Health)

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          Abstract

          This article provides working definitions and a conceptual framework to understand the roles of biomarkers in clinical research. The definitions of the terms discussed in this article--medical signs, symptoms, biomarkers, surrogate endpoints, clinical endpoints, validation--are still under discussion, as are their relationships to each other, but broad consensus has developed in the past decade and a half about the necessity of distinguishing between, in particular, surrogate and clinical endpoints. This article outlines the major definitions of the key terms in this field and considers select cases in which misunderstandings about the terms led to flawed research conclusions.

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          Surrogate end points in clinical trials: are we being misled?

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            Surrogate endpoints in clinical trials: cardiovascular diseases.

            A surrogate endpoint in a cardiovascular clinical trial is defined as endpoint measured in lieu of some other so-called 'true' endpoint. A surrogate is especially useful if it is easily measured and highly correlated with the true endpoint. Often the 'true' endpoint is one with clinical importance to the patient, for example, mortality or a major clinical outcome, while a surrogate is one biologically closer to the process of disease, for example, ejection fraction. Use of the surrogate can often lead to dramatic reductions in sample size and much shorter studies than use of the true endpoint. We discuss several problems common in trials with surrogate endpoints. Most important is the effect of missing data, especially in the face of informative censoring. Possible solutions are the assignment of scores or formal penalties to missing data.
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              Surrogate endpoints in clinical trials: cancer.

              Investigators use a surrogate endpoint when the endpoint of interest is too difficult and/or expensive to measure routinely and when they can define some other, more readily measurable, endpoint, that is sufficiently well correlated with the first to justify its use as a substitute. A surrogate endpoint is usually proposed on the basis of a biologic rationale. In cancer studies with survival time as the primary endpoint, surrogate endpoints frequently employed are tumour response, time to progression, or time to reappearance of disease, since these events occur earlier and are unaffected by use of secondary therapies. In early drug development studies, tumour response is often the true primary endpoint. We discuss the investigation of the validity of carcinoembryonic antigen (a tumour marker present in the blood) as a surrogate for tumour response. In considering the validity of surrogate endpoints, one must distinguish between study endpoints that provide a basis for reliable comparisons of therapeutic effect, and clinical endpoints that are useful for patient management but have insufficient sensitivity and/or specificity to provide reproducible assessments of the effects of particular therapies.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Current Opinion in HIV and AIDS
                Current Opinion in HIV and AIDS
                Ovid Technologies (Wolters Kluwer Health)
                1746-630X
                2010
                November 2010
                : 5
                : 6
                : 463-466
                Article
                10.1097/COH.0b013e32833ed177
                3078627
                20978388
                366c198b-a00d-4746-bc19-d03226effd89
                © 2010
                History

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