An analysis of protocols and publications suggested that most discontinuations of clinical trials were not based on preplanned interim analyses or stopping rules.

Stegert, Mihaela; Kasenda, Benjamin; von Elm, Erik; You, John J; Blümle, Anette; Tomonaga, Yuki; Saccilotto, Ramon; Amstutz, Alain; Bengough, Theresa; Briel, Matthias; Walter, Martin Alexander (2016). An analysis of protocols and publications suggested that most discontinuations of clinical trials were not based on preplanned interim analyses or stopping rules. Journal of clinical epidemiology, 69, pp. 152-160. Elsevier 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2015.05.023

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OBJECTIVES To investigate the frequency of interim analyses, stopping rules, and data safety and monitoring boards (DSMBs) in protocols of randomized controlled trials (RCTs); to examine these features across different reasons for trial discontinuation; and to identify discrepancies in reporting between protocols and publications. STUDY DESIGN AND SETTING We used data from a cohort of RCT protocols approved between 2000 and 2003 by six research ethics committees in Switzerland, Germany, and Canada. RESULTS Of 894 RCT protocols, 289 prespecified interim analyses (32.3%), 153 stopping rules (17.1%), and 257 DSMBs (28.7%). Overall, 249 of 894 RCTs (27.9%) were prematurely discontinued; mostly due to reasons such as poor recruitment, administrative reasons, or unexpected harm. Forty-six of 249 RCTs (18.4%) were discontinued due to early benefit or futility; of those, 37 (80.4%) were stopped outside a formal interim analysis or stopping rule. Of 515 published RCTs, there were discrepancies between protocols and publications for interim analyses (21.1%), stopping rules (14.4%), and DSMBs (19.6%). CONCLUSION Two-thirds of RCT protocols did not consider interim analyses, stopping rules, or DSMBs. Most RCTs discontinued for early benefit or futility were stopped without a prespecified mechanism. When assessing trial manuscripts, journals should require access to the protocol.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Review Article)

Division/Institute:

04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > BioMedical Research (DBMR) > Forschungsbereich Pavillon 52 > Forschungsgruppe Klinische Radiopharmazie
04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > BioMedical Research (DBMR) > Forschungsbereich Pavillon 52 > Forschungsgruppe Klinische Radiopharmazie

04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Radiology, Neuroradiology and Nuclear Medicine (DRNN) > Clinic of Nuclear Medicine

UniBE Contributor:

Walter, Martin Alexander

Subjects:

600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health

ISSN:

0895-4356

Publisher:

Elsevier

Language:

English

Submitter:

Franziska Nicoletti

Date Deposited:

26 Feb 2016 15:48

Last Modified:

20 Mar 2018 13:23

Publisher DOI:

10.1016/j.jclinepi.2015.05.023

PubMed ID:

26361993

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Data monitoring committees; Early termination of clinical trials; Interim analysis; Protocol; Randomized controlled trials; Stopping Rules

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.76679

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/76679

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