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      Do Contemporary Randomized Controlled Trials Meet ESMO Thresholds for Meaningful Clinical Benefit?

      Annals of oncology : official journal of the European Society for Medical Oncology

      Oxford University Press (OUP)

      value, ESMO-MCBS, benefit, meaningful

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          Abstract

          The European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) recently released a magnitude of clinical benefit scale (ESMO-MCBS) for systemic therapies for solid cancers. Here, we evaluate contemporary randomized controlled trials (RCTs) against the proposed ESMO thresholds for meaningful clinical benefit.

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          Most cited references 10

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          American Society of Clinical Oncology perspective: Raising the bar for clinical trials by defining clinically meaningful outcomes.

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            Bias in reporting of end points of efficacy and toxicity in randomized, clinical trials for women with breast cancer.

            Phase III randomized, clinical trials (RCTs) assess clinically important differences in end points that reflect benefit to patients. Here, we evaluate the quality of reporting of the primary end point (PE) and of toxicity in RCTs for breast cancer. PUBMED was searched from 1995 to 2011 to identify RCTs for breast cancer. Bias in the reporting of the PE and of toxicity was assessed using pre-designed algorithms. Associations of bias with the Journal Impact Factor (JIF), changes in the PE compared with information in ClinicalTrials.gov and funding source were evaluated. Of 164 included trials, 33% showed bias in reporting of the PE and 67% in the reporting of toxicity. The PE was more likely to be reported in the concluding statement of the abstract when significant differences favoring the experimental arm were shown; 59% of 92 trials with a negative PE used secondary end points to suggest benefit of experimental therapy. Only 32% of articles indicated the frequency of grade 3 and 4 toxicities in the abstract. A positive PE was associated with under-reporting of toxicity. Bias in reporting of outcome is common for studies with negative PEs. Reporting of toxicity is poor, especially for studies with positive PEs.
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              Evolution of the randomized controlled trial in oncology over three decades.

              The randomized controlled trial (RCT) is the gold standard for establishing new therapies in clinical oncology. Here we document changes with time in design, sponsorship, and outcomes of oncology RCTs. Reports of RCTs evaluating systemic therapy for breast, colorectal (CRC), and non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) published 1975 to 2004 in six major journals were reviewed. Two authors abstracted data regarding trial design, results, and conclusions. Conclusions of authors were graded using a 7-point Likert scale. For each study the effect size for the primary end point was converted to a summary measure. A total of 321 eligible RCTs were included (48% breast, 24% CRC, 28% NSCLC). Over time, the number and size of RCTs increased considerably. For-profit/mixed sponsorship increased substantially during the study period (4% to 57%; P < .001). There was increasing use of time-to-event measures (39% to 78%) and decreasing use of response rate (54% to 14%) as primary end point (P < .001). Effect size remained stable over the study period. Authors have become more likely to strongly endorse the experimental arm (P = .017). A significant P value for the primary end point and industry sponsorship were each independently associated with endorsement of the experimental agent (odds ratio [OR] = 19.6, 95% CI, 8.9 to 43.1, and OR = 3.5, 95% CI, 1.6 to 7.5, respectively). RCTs in oncology have become larger and are more likely to be sponsored by industry. Authors of modern RCTs are more likely to strongly endorse novel therapies. For-profit sponsorship and statistically significant results are independently associated with endorsement of the experimental arm.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                27742650
                10.1093/annonc/mdw538

                value, ESMO-MCBS, benefit, meaningful

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