Background: Platform trials are well-known for their ability to investigate multiple arms on heterogeneous patient populations and their flexibility to add/drop treatment arms due to efficacy/lack of efficacy. Because of their complexity, it is important to develop highly optimized, transparent, and rigorous designs that are cost-efficient, offer high statistical power, maximize patient benefit and are robust to changes over time.
Methods: To address these needs, we present a Bayesian platform trial design based on a Beta-Binomial model for binary outcomes that uses three key strategies: 1) Hierarchical modelling of subgroups within treatment arms that allows for borrowing of information across subgroups, 2) utilization of response-adaptive randomization (RAR) schemes that seek a tradeoff between statistical power and patient benefit, and 3) adjustment for potential drift over time. Motivated by a proposed clinical trial that aims to find the appropriate treatment for different subgroup populations of ischemic stroke patients, extensive simulation studies were performed to validate the approach, compare different allocation rules and study the model operating characteristics.
Results & Conclusions: Our proposed approach achieved high statistical power, good patient benefit and was also robust against population drift over time. Our design provided a nice balance between the strengths of both the traditional RAR scheme and fixed 1:1 allocation and may be a promising choice for dichotomous outcomes trials investigating multiple subgroups.