Clinical trials are research studies involving people.
- They test ways to treat and prevent cancer.
- All of today’s standard cancer treatments are a result of clinical trials completed many years ago.
Clinical trials are research studies involving people.
Organizations or individuals looking for better treatments for cancer or new ways to prevent or detect cancer may sponsor clinical trials. Individual doctors at cancer centers or other medical institutions can also conduct trials.
Clinical trials testing new treatments are carried out in phases.
Phase I — Is the Treatment Safe?
As the first step in testing the research, doctors gather information about the side effects of the treatment and decide on the safe dose. Only a few patients in a few places take part in a Phase I trial.
Phase II — Does the Treatment Work?
In this step, doctors test the treatment to see how well it works. Most of the time, fewer than 100 patients are involved in Phase II trials.
Phase III — Is the Treatment Better?
Phase III trials compare the new treatment against the current standard therapy and randomly assign patients into one of the two groups. Many people from all over the country take part in these trials.
Phase IV — Are There Better Ways to Use the Treatment?
In this final step, treatments are tested to make sure they are safe and work well over a long period of time. This phase most often occurs once the new treatment has been approved for standard use. Anywhere from several hundred to several thousand people are enrolled in a Phase IV trial.
Clinical trials are available through oncologists everywhere — not just in major cities or in large hospitals.
These trials test new approaches that doctors believe may reduce your chance of developing cancer. Most involve healthy people who have not had cancer. Some studies are conducted with people who have had cancer in the past to try to find ways to prevent second cancers.
Since cancer is often easier to cure when it is found early, screening trials test methods to better detect cancer, especially in the early stages. These studies also help find out whether finding cancer before it causes symptoms will lessen a patient’s chances of dying from the disease.
Diagnostic trials help answer whether or not there are new approaches that could be used to find certain types of cancer and at an earlier stage.
The purpose of these trials is to find out if a new treatment or technique is better than the standard treatment. This can include new approaches to radiation therapy, new drugs, vaccines and different combinations of treatment.
Supportive Care/Quality of Life
These studies explore ways to improve the comfort and quality of life of people with cancer or survivors. These trials also study ways to better combat the side effects of some treatments.
These are generally done with another clinical trial and focus on how genetic makeup can affect detection, diagnosis or response to cancer treatment.
Who Can Participate in a Clinical Trial?
Each clinical trial calls for certain criteria that a patient must meet to be included in that trial.
It’s important to remember that clinical trials are completely voluntary. Patients can leave a trial at any time.
Although there are risks with any treatment, there are also many benefits of taking part in a clinical trial. For example:
Before taking part in a clinical trial, talk to your doctor about some of the risks involved with your treatment. For example:
Before joining a clinical trial, you may want to ask your doctor questions about the study and your treatment.
If you are interested in joining a clinical trial, talk to your doctor. He or she can help you find out if a trial is right for you.
Before taking part in a clinical trial, it’s important to ask what your costs will be.
|Cancer Type||Trial ID||Description||Notes|
|Brain Cancer||BN012||Comparing radiation before surgery to radiation after surgery for patients with brain metastases||Your doctor may recommend this study for treatment of brain cancer|
|Breast Cancer||BR007 “DEBRA”||De-escalating Breast Radiation After Lumpectomy for Low Risk, Estrogen Receptor Positive, Breast Cancer||Your doctor may recommend this study during breast cancer treatment|
|Head and Neck Cancer||RTOG 1216||Comparing 3 different drug regimens for head and neck cancer getting radiation and chemotherapy after surgery (Cisplatin, Docetaxel-Cetuximab, or Cisplatin-Atezolizumab)||Your doctor may recommend this study following surgery for a cancer of the mouth, throat or voicebox|
|HN005||De-intensified Radiation Therapy With Chemotherapy (Cisplatin) or Immunotherapy (Nivolumab) in Treating Patients With Early-Stage, HPV-Positive, Non-Smoking Associated Oropharyngeal Cancer||Your doctor may recommend this study during treatment for oropharyngeal cancer|
|ECOG EA3161||Study of Maintenance Nivolumab vs. Observation in Patients with Locally Advanced, Intermediate Risk HPV Positive Oropharyngeal Carcinoma (OPCA)||Your doctor may recommend this study during treatment for oropharyngeal cancer|
|MNPR301||Testing a new mouth rinse to reduce mucositis during oropharyngeal cancer treatment||Your doctor may recommend this study during treatment for oropharyngeal cancer|
|Lung Cancer||S1827 “MAVERICK”||Testing whether the use of brain scans alone Instead of brain scans plus preventive brain radiation affects lifespan in patients with small cell lung cancer||Your doctor may recommend this study during lung cancer treatment|
|SBRT2||Testing whether a new method of measuring breathing is effective during focused lung radiation||Your doctor may recommend this study during lung cancer treatment|
|LU002||Examining the benefit of adding SBRT for oligometastatic NSCLC||Your doctor may recommend this study during lung cancer treatment|
|LU007 “RAPTOR”||Testing if adding radiation to the immunotherapy drug atezolizumab for patients with extensive stage small cell lung cancer (ES-SCLC) can improve survival over atezolizumab alone||Your doctor may recommend this study during lung cancer treatment|
|MK7337||Testing a new drug regimen to see if it improves survival for locally advanced NSCLC||Your doctor may recommend this study during lung cancer treatment|
|SWOG1914||Studies how well atezolizumab added to the usual radiation therapy works in treating patients with stage I-IIA non-small cell lung cancer||Your doctor may recommend this study during lung cancer treatment|
|Prostate Cancer||GU009||Using a genomic test to personalize the hormone therapy given with radiation for high-risk prostate cancer||Your doctor may recommend this study during prostate cancer treatment|
|SWOG1802||Standard Systemic Therapy (SST) Versus Standard Systemic Therapy Plus Definitive Treatment (Surgery or Radiation) of the Primary Tumor in Metastatic Prostate Cancer||Your doctor may recommend this study during metastatic prostate cancer treatment|
Chart last updated November 2023.