Uptake of the multi-arm multi-stage (MAMS) adaptive platform approach: A trial-registry review of late-phase randomised clinical trials

Nurulamin M. Noor, Sharon B. Love, Talia Isaacs, Richard Kaplan, Mahesh K.B. Parmar, Matthew R. Sydes

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background For medical conditions with numerous interventions worthy of investigation, there are many advantages of a multi-arm multi-stage (MAMS) platform trial approach. However, there is currently limited knowledge on uptake of the MAMS design, especially in the late-phase setting. We sought to examine uptake and characteristics of late-phase MAMS platform trials, to enable better planning for teams considering future use of this approach. Design We examined uptake of registered, late-phase MAMS platforms in the EU clinical trials register, Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry, International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial Number registry, Pan African Clinical Trials Registry, WHO International Clinical Trial Registry Platform and databases: PubMed, Medline, Cochrane Library, Global Health Library and EMBASE. Searching was performed and review data frozen on 1 April 2021. MAMS platforms were defined as requiring two or more comparison arms, with two or more trial stages, with an interim analysis allowing for stopping of recruitment to arms and typically the ability to add new intervention arms. Results 62 late-phase clinical trials using an MAMS approach were included. Overall, the number of late-phase trials using the MAMS design has been increasing since 2001 and been accelerated by COVID-19. The majority of current MAMS platforms were either targeting infectious diseases (52%) or cancers (29%) and all identified trials were for treatment interventions. 89% (55/62) of MAMS platforms were evaluating medications, with 45% (28/62) of the MAMS platforms having at least one or more repurposed medication as a comparison arm. Conclusions Historically, late-phase trials have adhered to long-established standard (two-arm) designs. However, the number of late-phase MAMS platform trials is increasing, across a range of different disease areas. This study highlights the potential scope of MAMS platform trials and may assist research teams considering use of this approach in the late-phase randomised clinical trial setting. PROSPERO registration number CRD42019153910.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere055615
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number3
StatePublished - 10 Mar 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • clinical pharmacology
  • clinical trials
  • infectious diseases
  • oncology
  • public health

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