Characteristics of drug combination therapy in oncology by analyzing clinical trial data on clinicaltrials.gov

By William Chin, PhD, Scientific Coordinator, EUCRAF

Drug combination therapy has the potential to improve treatment response, minimize development of resistance or minimize adverse events. A recent study entitled "Characteristics of drug combination therapy in oncology by analyzing clinical trial data on clinicaltrials.gov." was recently pubished at the Journal of Pacific Symposium on Biocomputing. The authors conducted a systematic study to extract useful quantitative data such as primary purpose, funding source, endpoint measurement, allocation, and trial phase from clinicaltrial.gov repository. The aim was to understand the current state of combination trials with the hope that it may facilitate future trial design and move more preclinical combination studies to the clinical trial stage.

The authors reported that nearly half of all combination trials are conducted in oncology, and a quarter of oncology trials use combination therapies, indicating drug combination is indeed, prevalent in oncology. In addition, the authors found that the trials supported by the NIH are significantly more likely to use combinations of drugs than those supported by industry. This authors hypothesized that this phenomenon may be caused by companies’ tendencies to focus on developing their own specific drugs rather than testing drugs from possible outside sources.   

Source

1. Pac Symp Biocomput. 2015;20:68-79. Characteristics of drug combination therapy in oncology by analyzing clinical trial data on clinicaltrials.gov. Wu M, Sirota M, Butte AJ, Chen B.