Matt Sydes, Professor of Clinical Trials & Methodology

Matt is responsible for leading the unit's Trial Conduct Methodology activities where he has a particular interest in improving clinical trial conduct, particularly around: the use of routinely-collected electronic health records (EHR) to support and run trials with Health Data Research UK; running trials with a view to regulatory use and submission; proportionate and efficient trial monitoring; adaptive and efficient designs for late-phase trials, including in uncommon conditions; clinical trial data sharing; communication of trial findings; function of trial oversight committees. His first involvement in methodology was the DAMOCLES project which set standards for (independent) Data Monitoring Committees and led to the widespread use of charters for trial committees. He is part of the faculty for UCL's regular 1-day course on Data Monitoring Committees in practice and has served as a member of IDMCs and TSCs for around 50 trials, often as chair, attending around 200 meetings. Matt teaches on the UCL Institute of Clinical Trials and Methodology's MSc in Clinical Trials and is currently supervising a 5 PhD students in areas of methodological priority.

Matt has served as lead statistician for STAMPEDE, a multi-arm multi-stage platform protocol in prostate cancer, a clinical trial which has delivered practice-changing results three times. The efficient RADICALS trial for post-operative treatment in earlier prostate cancer will soon report results. The trans-Atlantic EURAMOS-1 trial in osteosarcoma, a rate cancer, was the largest RCT conducted in this setting, thanks to an extensive international collaboration and has defined the standard-of-care. Matt commonly advises on trial design and conduct of external trials.

Externally, Matt chaired the Scientific Committee for the International Clinical Trials and Methodology Conference (ICTMC) 2019 and will for ICTMC 2021. He serves on the executive committee for the NIHR-MRC Trials Methodology Research Partnership (TMRP) and did on its predecessor, the MRC Network of Hubs for Trial Methodology Research. He is currently a member of Cancer Research UK’s Clinical Trials Monitoring Panel, having previously served on main clinical trials funding body. He spent 7 years serving on a national Research Ethics Committee. He reviews grant applications and articles for a wide range of funding bodies and journals, including NIHR’s rolling panel for COVID 19. He is always keen to share experiences with other researchers and has presented widely. He has served on the faculty for clinical trials and statistic courses, including co-directing the EORTC's annual “Statistics for Non-statisticians” course, and serving on the faculty of ECCO-AACR-EORTC-ESMO's (“Zeist” / "Flims") Workshop on Methods in Clinical Cancer Research, and at 3 of ASCO's International Clinical Trials Workshops joint with national oncology organisations in Turkey, Greece and Morocco, and is now part of ASCO International Education Steering Group.

Matt joined the MRC Cancer Trials Office (in Cambridge) back in 1995, moving to London with the formation of the MRC Clinical Trials Unit in 1998 and on into UCL in 2013. He chairs the Unit’s Protocol Review Committee, led the development of a new template protocol for clinical trials and is a member of the organising committee for the Unit’s series of Monday Lunchtime Seminars, and is a co-opted member of UCL’s Research Ethics Committee.


Selected publications

Love SB et al. Monitoring in practice - How are UK academic clinical trials monitored? A survey. Trials. 2020;21(1):59 >>> [Senior author]

Lensen S et al. Access to routinely collected health data for clinical trials - review of successful data requests to UK registries. Trials. 2020;21(1):398 >>> [Senior author]

Lane JA et al. A third trial oversight committee: Functions, benefits and issues. Clin Trials. 2020;17(1):106-12 >>> [Senior author]

Choodari-Oskooei B et al. Adding new experimental arms to randomised clinical trials: Impact on error rates. Clin Trials. 2020;17(3):273-84

Schiavone F et al. This is a platform alteration: a trial management perspective on the operational aspects of adaptive and platform and umbrella protocols. Trials. 2019;20(1):264 >>> [Senior author]

Morris TP et al. Proposals on Kaplan-Meier plots in medical research and a survey of stakeholder views: KMunicate. BMJ Open. 2019;9(9):e030215 >>> [Senior author]

Morrell L et al. Mind the gap? The platform trial as a working environment. Trials. 2019;20(1):297

Hague D et al. Changing platforms without stopping the train: experiences of data management and data management systems when adapting platform protocols by adding and closing comparisons. Trials. 2019;20(1):294 >>> [Senior author]

Embleton-Thirsk A et al. Impact of retrospective data verification to prepare the ICON6 trial for use in a marketing authorization application. Clin Trials. 2019;16(5):502-11

Diaz-Montana C et al. Implementing monitoring triggers and matching of triggered and control sites in the TEMPER study: a description and evaluation of a triggered monitoring management system. Trials. 2019;20(1):227

Sydes MR et al. Adding abiraterone or docetaxel to long-term hormone therapy for prostate cancer: directly randomised data from the STAMPEDE multi-arm, multi-stage platform protocol. Ann Oncol. 2018;29(5):1235-48 >>> [1st author; Trial_statistician]

Stenning SP et al. Triggered or routine site monitoring visits for randomised controlled trials: results of TEMPER, a prospective, matched-pair study. Clin Trials. 2018;15(6):600-9 >>>
Parker CC et al. Radiotherapy to the primary tumour for newly diagnosed, metastatic prostate cancer (STAMPEDE): a randomised controlled phase 3 trial. Lancet. 2018;392(10162):2353-66 >>> [Senior author; Corresponding_author]

James ND et al. Abiraterone for Prostate Cancer Not Previously Treated with Hormone Therapy. N Engl J Med. 2017;377(4):338-51 >>> [Senior author; Trial_statistician]

Marina NM et al. Comparison of MAPIE versus MAP in patients with a poor response to preoperative chemotherapy for newly diagnosed high-grade osteosarcoma (EURAMOS-1): an open-label, international, randomised controlled trial. Lancet Oncol. 2016;17(10):1396-408 >>> [Senior author (joint); Trial_statistician; Corresponding author]

James ND et al. Addition of docetaxel, zoledronic acid, or both to first-line long-term hormone therapy in prostate cancer (STAMPEDE): survival results from an adaptive, multiarm, multistage, platform randomised controlled trial. Lancet. 2016;387(10024):1163-77 >>> [2nd author; Trial_statistician; Corresponding author]

Sydes MR et al. Sharing data from clinical trials: the rationale for a controlled access approach. Trials. 2015;16(1):104 >>> [1st author; Corresponding author]

Dearnaley DP et al. Escalated-dose versus control-dose conformal radiotherapy for prostate cancer: long-term results from the MRC RT01 randomised controlled trial. Lancet Oncol. 2014;15(4):464-73 >>> [Senior author; Trial_statistician; ; Corresponding author]

Sydes MR et al. Flexible trial design in practice - stopping arms for lack-of-benefit and adding research arms mid-trial in STAMPEDE: a multi-arm multi-stage randomized controlled trial. Trials. 2012;13(1):168 >>> [1st author; Corresponding_author]

DAMOCLES study group et al. A proposed charter for clinical trial data monitoring committees: helping them to do their job well. The Lancet. 2005;365(9460):711-22 >>> [Group author]





Research Interests

  • Late phase randomised controlled trials
  • Improved conduct of clinical trials
  • Electronic health records
  • Academic trials for regulatory use
  • Applications of novel trial methods
  • Dissemination and use of trial data
  • Trial oversight committees
  • International collaboration


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