A web-based endpoint adjudication system for interim analyses in clinical trials
Background A data monitoring committee (DMC) is often employed to assess trial progress and review safety data and efficacy endpoints throughout a trail. Interim analyses performed for the DMC should use data that are as complete and verified as possible. Such analyses are complicated when data verification involves subjective study endpoints or requires clinical expertise to determine each subject's status with respect to the study endpoint. Therefore, procedures are needed to obtain adjudicated data for interim analyses in an efficient manner. In the past, methods for handling such data included using locally reported results as surrogate endpoints, adjusting analysis methods for unadjudicated data, or simply performing the adjudication as rapidly as possible. These methods all have inadequacies that make their sole usage suboptimal.
Purpose For a study of prophylaxis for invasive candidiasis, adjudication of both study eligibility criteria and clinical endpoints prior to two interim analyses was required. Because the study was expected to enroll at a moderate rate and the sponsor required adjudicated endpoints to be used for interim analyses, an efficient process for adjudication was required.
Methods We created a web-based endpoint adjudication system (WebEAS) that allows for expedited review by the endpoint adjudication committee (EAC). This system automatically identifies when a subject's data are complete, creates a subject profile from the study data, and assigns EAC reviewers. The reviewers use the WebEAS to review the subject profile and submit their completed review form. The WebEAS then compares the reviews, assigns an additional review as a tiebreaker if needed, and stores the adjudicated data.
Results The study for which this system was originally built was administratively closed after 10 months with only 38 subjects enrolled. The adjudication process was finalized and the WebEAS system activated prior to study closure. Some website accessibility issues presented initially. However, once these issues were resolved, the reviewers found the system user-friendly and easy to navigate.
Limitations Web-based data adjudication depends upon expeditious data collection and verification. Further, ability to use web-based technologies, in addition to clinical expertise, must be considered in selecting EAC members.
Conclusion The automated nature of this system makes it a practical mechanism for ensuring timely endpoint adjudication. The authors believe a similar approach could be useful for handling endpoint adjudication for future clinical trials. Clinical Trials 2009; 6: 60—66. http://ctj.sagepub.com