AutoTrial: Prompting Language Models for Clinical Trial Design

Zifeng Wang, Cao Xiao, Jimeng Sun

Clinical trials are critical for drug development. Constructing the appropriate eligibility criteria (i.e., the inclusion/exclusion criteria for patient recruitment) is essential for the trial's success. Proper design of clinical trial protocols should consider similar precedent trials and their eligibility criteria to ensure sufficient patient coverage. In this paper, we present a method named AutoTrial to aid the design of clinical eligibility criteria using language models. It allows (1) controllable generation under instructions via a hybrid of discrete and neural prompting, (2) scalable knowledge incorporation via in-context learning, and (3) explicit reasoning chains to provide rationales for understanding the outputs. Experiments on over 70K clinical trials verify that AutoTrial generates high-quality criteria texts that are fluent and coherent and with high accuracy in capturing the relevant clinical concepts to the target trial. It is noteworthy that our method, with a much smaller parameter size, gains around 60\% winning rate against the GPT-3.5 baselines via human evaluations.

Knowledge Graph



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