Design and analysis of umbrella trials: Where do we stand?

Luke O. Ouma, James M.S. Wason, Haiyan Zheng, Nina Wilson, Michael Grayling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (SciVal)


Background: The efficiencies that master protocol designs can bring to modern drug development have seen their increased utilization in oncology. Growing interest has also resulted in their consideration in non-oncology settings. Umbrella trials are one class of master protocol design that evaluates multiple targeted therapies in a single disease setting. Despite the existence of several reviews of master protocols, the statistical considerations of umbrella trials have received more limited attention. Methods: We conduct a systematic review of the literature on umbrella trials, examining both the statistical methods that are available for their design and analysis, and also their use in practice. We pay particular attention to considerations for umbrella designs applied outside of oncology. Findings: We identified 38 umbrella trials. To date, most umbrella trials have been conducted in early phase settings (73.7%, 28/38) and in oncology (92.1%, 35/38). The quality of statistical information available about conducted umbrella trials to date is poor; for example, it was impossible to ascertain how sample size was determined in the majority of trials (55.3%, 21/38). The literature on statistical methods for umbrella trials is currently sparse. Conclusions: Umbrella trials have potentially great utility to expedite drug development, including outside of oncology. However, to enable lessons to be effectively learned from early use of such designs, there is a need for higher-quality reporting of umbrella trials. Furthermore, if the potential of umbrella trials is to be realized, further methodological research is required.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1037439
JournalFrontiers in Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 12 Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
HZ was funded by a CRUK Research Fellowship (RCCPDF\100008). JW was funded by a NIHR Research Professorship (NIHR301614).


  • adaptive design
  • biomarker-guided design
  • innovative design
  • master protocol
  • precision medicine
  • precision oncology
  • stratified medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Design and analysis of umbrella trials: Where do we stand?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this