Five criteria for using a surrogate endpoint to predict treatment effect based on data from multiple previous trials.
Journal: Stat Med
Date: 2018 Feb 20
Major Program(s) or Research Group(s): BRG
PubMed ID: 29164641
PMC ID: PMC5771803
Abstract: A surrogate endpoint in a randomized clinical trial is an endpoint that occurs after randomization and before the true, clinically meaningful, endpoint that yields conclusions about the effect of treatment on true endpoint. A surrogate endpoint can accelerate the evaluation of new treatments but at the risk of misleading conclusions. Therefore, criteria are needed for deciding whether to use a surrogate endpoint in a new trial. For the meta-analytic setting of multiple previous trials, each with the same pair of surrogate and true endpoints, this article formulates 5 criteria for using a surrogate endpoint in a new trial to predict the effect of treatment on the true endpoint in the new trial. The first 2 criteria, which are easily computed from a zero-intercept linear random effects model, involve statistical considerations: an acceptable sample size multiplier and an acceptable prediction separation score. The remaining 3 criteria involve clinical and biological considerations: similarity of biological mechanisms of treatments between the new trial and previous trials, similarity of secondary treatments following the surrogate endpoint between the new trial and previous trials, and a negligible risk of harmful side effects arising after the observation of the surrogate endpoint in the new trial. These 5 criteria constitute an appropriately high bar for using a surrogate endpoint to make a definitive treatment recommendation.