Using the continual reassessment method: lessons learned from an EORTC phase I dose finding study
Paoletti, Xavier × Baron, Benoît Schöffski, Patrick Fumoleau, Pierre Lacombe, Denis Marreaud, Sandrine Sylvester, Richard #
European Journal of Cancer vol:42 issue:10 pages:1362-1368
Many clinicians often do not feel comfortable with the Continual Reassessment Method (CRM). This article reviews its implementation, showing the characteristics, advantages and limitations of this method in Phase I studies as an alternative to the classical 'Fibonacci' escalation schema. A two center, dose escalation phase I study of rViscumin was carried out. Thirty-seven patients were included at 14 different dose-levels (10 to 6400 ng/kg). The complete clinical results are presented elsewhere. A 2-step CRM design enables one to speed-up the study and most importantly to obtain an accurate estimate of the maximum tolerated dose (MTD). Different management issues related to a multicenter study are illustrated and we show how the method can go wrong when severe toxicity, or dose limiting toxicity (DLT), is not considered by the clinician as being sufficient to limit dose escalation (here a grade 3 asthenia related to the drug). This would have affected any dose finding methods. We believe that CRM is a good alternative to the standard method from both a statistical and a practical point of view but further methodological research is necessary to address the issues related to the composite nature of the endpoint.