In our 2020 consensus paper, we devised ten recommendations for conducting Complex Innovative Design (CID) trials to evaluate cancer drugs. Within weeks of its publication, the UK was hit by the first wave of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Large CID trials were prioritised to compare the efficacy of new and repurposed COVID-19 treatments and inform regulatory decisions. The unusual circumstances of the pandemic meant studies such as RECOVERY were opened almost immediately and recruited record numbers of participants. However, trial teams were required to make concessions and adaptations to these studies to ensure recruitment was rapid and broad. As these are relevant to cancer trials that enrol patients with similar risk factors, we have added three new recommendations to our original ten: employing pragmatism such as using focused information sheets and collection of only the most relevant data; minimising negative environmental impacts with paperless systems; and using direct-to-patient communication methods to improve uptake. These recommendations can be applied to all oncology CID trials to improve their inclusivity, uptake and efficiency. Above all, the success of CID studies during the COVID-19 pandemic underscores their efficacy as tools for rapid treatment evaluation.
British Journal of Cancer