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Brooke E. Wilson, Michelle B. Nadler, Alexandra Desnoyers, and Eitan Amir

Background: Censoring due to early drug discontinuation (EDD) or withdrawal of consent or loss to follow-up (WCLFU) can result in postrandomization bias. In oncology, censoring rules vary with no defined standards. In this study, we sought to describe the planned handling and transparency of censoring data in oncology trials supporting FDA approval and to compare EDD and WCLFU in experimental and control arms. Methods: We searched FDA archives to identify solid tumor drug approvals and their associated trials between 2015 and 2019, and extracted the planned handling and reporting of censored data. We compared the proportion of WCLFU and EDD between the experimental and control arms by using generalized estimating equations, and performed logistic regression to identify trial characteristics associated with WCLFU occurring more frequently in the control group. Results: Censoring rules were defined adequately in 48 (59%) of 81 included studies. Only 14 (17%) reported proportions of censored participants clearly. The proportion of WCLFU was higher in the control group than in the experimental group (mean, 3.9% vs 2.5%; β-coefficient, −2.2; 95% CI, −3.1 to −1.3; P<.001). EDD was numerically higher in the experimental arm in 61% of studies, but there was no statistically significant difference in the proportion of EDD between the experimental and control groups (mean, 21.6% vs 19.9%, respectively; β-coefficient, 0.27; 95% CI, −0.32 to 0.87; P=.37). The proportion of EDD due to adverse effects (AEs) was higher in the experimental group (mean, 13.2% vs 8.5%; β-coefficient, 1.5; 95% CI, 0.57–2.45; P=.002). WCLFU was higher in the control group in studies with an active control group (odds ratio [OR], 10.1; P<.001) and in open label studies (OR, 3.00; P=.08). Conclusions: There are significant differences in WCLFU and EDD for AEs between the experimental and control arms in oncology trials. This may introduce postrandomization bias. Trials should improve the reporting and handling of censored data so that clinicians and patients are fully informed regarding the expected benefits of a treatment.

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Aida Bujosa, Consolación Moltó, Thomas J. Hwang, José Carlos Tapia, Kerstin N. Vokinger, Arnoud J. Templeton, Ignasi Gich, Agustí Barnadas, Eitan Amir, and Ariadna Tibau

Background: Most anticancer drugs are approved by regulatory agencies based on surrogate measures. This article explores the variables associated with overall survival (OS), quality of life (QoL), and substantial clinical benefit among anticancer drugs at the time of approval and in the postmarketing period. Methods: Anticancer drugs approved by the FDA between January 2006 and December 2015 and with postmarketing follow-up until April 2019 were identified. We evaluated trial-level data supporting approval and any updated OS and/or QoL data. We applied the ESMO-Magnitude of Clinical Benefit Scale (ESMO-MCBS) and the ASCO Value Framework (ASCO-VF) to initial and follow-up studies. Results: We found that 58 drugs were approved for 96 indications based on 96 trials. At registration, approval was based on improved OS in 39 trials (41%) and improved QoL in 16 of 45 indications (36%). Postmarketing data showed an improvement in OS for 28 of 59 trials (47%) and in QoL for 22 of 48 indications (46%). At the time of approval, 25 of 94 (27%) and 26 of 80 scorable trials (33%) met substantial benefit thresholds using the ESMO-MCBS and ASCO-VF, respectively. In the postmarketing period, 37 of 69 (54%) and 35 of 65 (54%) trials met the substantial benefit thresholds. Drugs with companion diagnostics and immune checkpoint inhibitors were associated significantly with substantial clinical benefit. Conclusions: Compared with the time of approval, more anticancer drugs showed improved OS and QoL and met the ESMO-MCBS or ASCO-VF thresholds for substantial benefit over the course of postmarketing time. However, only approximately half of the trials met the threshold for substantial benefit. Companion diagnostic drugs and immunotherapy seemed to be associated with greater clinical benefit.