Get sample size updates by email

Receive educational sample size content

nQuery Sample Size Software Logo Q svg


Solutions for Frequentist and Fixed-term trials
nQuery Sample Size Software Logo Q svg


Sample size using Bayesian analysis
nQuery Sample Size Software Logo Q svg


Sample size for sophisticated Adaptive clinical trials

Get sample size updates by email

Receive great industry news once a week in your inbox

Try Now

Adaptive Clinical Trial Design


Get a Trial

Demo Icon Green
Try now - no download required!
Reducing the risk & cost of clinical trials, for innovative organizations such as:
Astrazeneca logo

Why Adaptive Clinical Trials?

Plus why regulatory agencies are encouraging them

nQuery In Use Background Web  Opacity 35
  • Drug development costs have been multiplying year-on-year, in addition to the rise in clinical trial failure rates. This is a concerning issue for healthcare.

  • Adaptive clinical trials have made rapid headway as a method to alleviate these problems.

  • They hold the potential for clinical trials to better reflect the statistical and practical requirements of trial sponsors by optimizing financial resources whilst also reducing the risk to patients.

  • Regulatory agencies around the world are now encouraging sponsors to put forward innovative trial designs and to reduce the risk and cost of clinical trials.

How do Adaptive trials work?

Adaptive trials enable continual modification to the trial design based on interim data. This means that with adaptive trials, you have the opportunity to make changes to your trial, while it is still ongoing.  Which in turn can allow you to explore options and treatments that you would otherwise be unable to which can lead to improvements to your trial, based on data as it becomes available.

Interim sample size reassessment ensures sufficient power, more patients receive the superior treatment or transition directly from one trial phase to another. Combined this reduces the use of resources and time or improve the likelihood of success of the trial. Overall this expedites the time it takes a new drug to start helping patients. 

Statistical analysis plans for adaptive clinical trials should cover interim analyses and Sample Size Re-estimation plans.

How can nQuery help my Adaptive trials?

nQuery Adapt is a new module within nQuery Sample Size Software for researchers to use as their sample size calculator when dealing with adaptive clinical trial designs. 

nQuery Adapt provides Biostatisticians with a range of tables that spans various adaptive disciplines for sample size calculation.

This Adaptive design module in nQuery contains 15 tables and spans 4 adaptive disciplines. Click on each below to learn more about them and how they can help you reduce the risk and cost of your trials.

Unblinded Sample Size Re-Estimation

In group sequential designs and other similar designs, access to the interim data provides the opportunity to improve a study to better reflect the updated understanding of the study. One way a group sequential design would be to use the interim effect size estimate not only to decide to whether to stop a trial early but to increase the sample size if the interim effect size is promising. This optionality gives the trialist the chance to power for a more optimistic effect size, thus reducing up-front costs, while still being confident of being able to find for a smaller but clinically relevant effect size by increasing sample size if needed.

The most common way to define whether an interim effect size is promising is conditional power. Conditional power is the probability that the trial will reject the null hypothesis at a subsequent look given the current test statistic and the assumed parameter values, which are usually assumed to equal their interim estimates. For “promising” trials where the conditional power falls between a lower bound, a typical value would be 50%, and the initial target power the sample size can be increased to make the conditional power equal the target study power.

nQuery Adapt also provides tables for unblinded sample size re-estimation. These tables allow nQuery Adapt users to extend their initial group sequential design by giving tools which allow users to conduct interim monitoring and conduct a flexible sample size re-estimate at a specified interim look. The tables in nQuery Adapt that aid you with Unblinded Sample Size Re-estimation are as follows:

  • Unblinded Sample Size Re-estimation & Interim Monitoring for Two Means
  • Unblinded Sample Size Re-estimation & Interim Monitoring for Two Proportions

Both these tables will be accessible by designing a group sequential study using the relevant group sequential designs and using the “Interim Monitoring & Sample Size Re-estimation” option from the group sequential “Looks” table. These tables will provide for two common approaches to unblinded sample size re-estimation: Chen-DeMets-Lan and Cui-Hung-Wang. There is also an option to ignore the sample size re-estimation and conduct interim monitoring for standard group sequential design.

The Chen-DeMets-Lan Method
The Chen-DeMets-Lan method allows a sample size increase while using the standard group sequential unweighted Wald statistics without appreciable error inflation, assuming an interim result has sufficiently "promising" conditional power. The primary advantages of the Chen-DeMets-Lan method are being able to use the standard group sequential test statistics and that each subject will be weighted equally to the equivalent group sequential design after a sample size increase. However, this design is restricted to the final interim analysis and Type I error control is expected but not guaranteed depending on the sample size re-estimation rules.

The Cui-Hung-Wang Method
The Cui-Hung-Wang method uses a weighted test statistic, using pre-set weights based on the initial sample size and the incremental interim test statistics, which strictly controls the type I error. However, this statistic will differ from that for a standard group sequential design after a sample size increase and since subjects are weighted on the initial sample size, those subjects in the post-sample size increase cohort will be weighted less than those before.

There is full control over the rules for the sample size re-estimation including sample size re-estimation look (for Cui-Hung-Wang), maximum sample size, whether to increase to the maximum sample size or the sample size to achieve the target conditional power and bounds for what a “promising” condition power is, among others.

Future nQuery Adapt updates will increase the number of study designs available, including for survival studies, and the number of options and flexibility for planning an unblinded sample size re-estimation.

Get a Trial

Demo Icon white
Try now - no download required
50k Users
Commercial, academic &
government organizations
Successful Trials
Recognized by the FDA, EMA
& other regulatory bodies

FDA Guidance on Adaptive Sample Size Re-estimation Watch On Demand

About this webinar

The FDA recently published new draft guidance on adaptive trials and are actively encouraging sponsors to use Adaptive trials.

In this webinar you’ll learn about:

  • The FDA's view on Adaptive design
  • The pros and cons of Adaptive design
  • Sample Size Re-estimation background
  • Unblinded Sample Size Re-estimation
  • Blinded Sample Size Re-estimation


Speaker: Ronan Fitzpatrick, Head of Statistics, Statsols
Duration: 60 minutes 

Watch Recording Now