On Efficient Two-Stage Adaptive Designs for Clinical Trials with Sample Size Adjustment
*Qing Liu, Statistical Science, J&J 

Keywords: Adaptation rule, Cumulative conditional power, Group sequential

Group sequential designs are rarely used for clinical trials with substantial over running due to fast enrollment or long duration of treatment and follow-up. Traditionally, such trials rely on fixed sample size designs. Recently, various two-stage adaptive designs have been introduced to allow sample size adjustment to increase statistical power or avoid unnecessarily large trials. However, these adaptive designs can be seriously inefficient. To address this infamous problem, we propose a likelihood based two-stage adaptive design where sample size adjustment is derived from a pseudo group sequential design using cumulative conditional power. We show through numerical examples that this design cannot be improved by group sequential designs. In addition, the approach may uniformly improve any existing two-stage adaptive designs with sample size adjustment. For statistical inference, we provide methods for sequential p-values and confidence intervals, as well as median unbiased and minimum variance unbiased estimates. We show that the claim of inefficiency of adaptive designs by Tsiatis and Mehta (2003) is logically flawed, and thereby, provide a strong defense of Cui, Hung and Wang (1999).