Matt Sydes, Professor of Clinical Trials & Methodology

Matt is responsible for leading the unit's Trial Conduct Methodology activities as well as teams conducting research in prostate cancer and osteosarcoma. Matt 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; clinical trial data sharing; communication of trial findings; adaptive and efficient designs for late-phase trials, including in uncommon conditions; and the functioning of Data Monitoring Committees. On this, he was involved in 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. Matt has served as a member of IDMCs and TSCs, often as chair, for more around 50 trials, attending around 200 meetings. Matt teaches on these topics on the UCL Institute of Clinical Trials and Methodology's MSc in Clinical Trials. He is supervising a number of PhD students in these areas of methodological priority.

In terms of clinical trials in prostate cancer, Matt has served as lead statistician for STAMPEDE, a multi-arm multi-stage platform protocol for a clinical trial which has repeatedly reported practice defining results for adding chemotherapy, abiraterone and radiotherapy in both the metastatic and non-metastatic setting, the latter building on the MRC PR07 trial. The efficient and larger RADICALS trial for post-operative treatment will soon report results on multiple clinical questions for men with early prostate cancer. In osteosarcoma, the trans-Atlantic EURAMOS-1 trial was is the largest RCT conducted in this rare disease, 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 chairs the Scientific Committee for the International Clinical Trials and Methodology Conference (ICTMC) 2019, and serves on the executive committee for the MRC Network of Hubs for Trial Methodology Research and its successor Partnership for Trials 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. 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.

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

DAMOCLES study group, Grant A, Altman D, Babiker A, Campbell M, Clemens F, 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.

Sydes MR, Parmar MK, Mason MD, Clarke NW, Amos C, Anderson J, 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.

Sydes MR, Johnson AL, Meredith SK, Rauchenberger M, South A, Parmar MK. Sharing data from clinical trials: the rationale for a controlled access approach. Trials. 2015;16(1):104.

James ND, Sydes MR, Clarke NW, Mason MD, Dearnaley DP, Spears MR, 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.

Marina NM, Smeland S, Bielack SS, Bernstein M, Jovic G, Krailo MD, 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.

James ND, de Bono JS, Spears MR, Clarke NW, Mason MD, Dearnaley DP, et al. Abiraterone for Prostate Cancer Not Previously Treated with Hormone Therapy. N Engl J Med. 2017;377(4):338-51.

Parker CC, James ND, Brawley CD, Clarke NW, Hoyle AP, Ali A, et al. Radiotherapy to the primary tumour for newly diagnosed, metastatic prostate cancer (STAMPEDE): a randomised controlled phase 3 trial. Lancet. 2018.

Sydes MR, Spears MR, Mason MD, Clarke NW, Dearnaley DP, de Bono JS, 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.

Research Interests

  • Late phase randomised controlled trials
  • Electronic health records
  • Applications of novel trial methods
  • Dissemination and use of trial data
  • Trial oversight committees
  • Clinical trials in cancer
  • International collaboration

Research Areas

Related Studies

IRIS Profile