A Multi-Arm Two-Stage (MATS) Design for Proof-of-concept and Dose Optimization in Early-phase Oncology Trials

By Zhenghao Jiang, Gu Mi, Ji Lin, Christelle Lorenzato, and Yuan Ji

[ Rshiny Application ]           [ Manuscript ]


The Project Optimus initiative by the FDA's Oncology Center of Excellence is widely viewed as a groundbreaking effort to change the status quo of conventional dose-finding strategies in oncology. Unlike in other therapeutic areas where multiple doses are evaluated thoroughly in dose ranging studies, early-phase oncology dose-finding studies are characterized by the practice of identifying a single dose, such as the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) or the recommended phase 2 dose (RP2D). Following the spirit of Project Optimus, we propose an Multi-Arm Two-Stage (MATS) design for proof-of-concept (PoC) and dose optimization that allows the evaluation of two selected doses from a dose-escalation trial. The design assesses the higher dose first across multiple indications in the first stage, and adaptively enters the second stage for an indication if the higher dose exhibits promising anti-tumor activities. In the second stage, a randomized comparison between the higher and lower doses is conducted to achieve PoC and dose optimization. A Bayesian hierarchical model governs the statistical inference and decision making by borrowing information across doses, indications, and stages. Our simulation studies show that the proposed MATS design yield desirable performance. R Shiny application has been developed and made available at

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