A unified framework for the evaluation of surrogate endpoints in mental-health clinical trials

Geert Molenberghs*, Tomasz Burzykowski, Ariel Alonso, Pryseley Assam, Abel Tilahun, Marc Buyse

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Web of Science)


For a number of reasons, surrogate endpoints are considered instead of the so-called true endpoint in clinical studies, especially when such endpoints can be measured earlier, and/or with less burden for patient and experimenter. Surrogate endpoints may occur more frequently than their standard counterparts. For these reasons, it is not surprising that the use of surrogate endpoints in clinical practice is increasing. Building on the seminal work of Prentice(1) and Freedman et al.,(2) Buyse et al. (3) framed the evaluation exercise within a meta-analytic setting, in an effort to overcome difficulties that necessarily surround evaluation efforts based on a single trial. In this article, we review the meta-analytic approach for continuous outcomes, discuss extensions to non-normal and longitudinal settings, as well as proposals to unify the somewhat disparate collection of validation measures currently on the market. Implications for design and for predicting the effect of treatment in a new trial, based on the surrogate, are discussed. A case study in schizophrenia is analysed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-236
JournalStatistical Methods in Medical Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010

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