NCCN Guidelines for Patients™: Multiple Myeloma
4.1 What are clinical trials?
4.2 The purpose of clinical trials
A clinical trial is a type of research that studies a test
or treatment. Because of clinical trials, the tests and
treatments in this booklet are now widely used to help
patients. There may be an open clinical trial that you
Joining a clinical trial has benefits. First, you’ll have
access to the most current cancer care. Second, you
will be treated by experts. Third, the results of your
treatment—both good and bad—will be carefully tracked.
Fourth, you may help other patients with cancer.
Clinical trials have risks too. Like any test or treatment,
there may be side effects. Also, new tests or treatments
may not help. Another downside may be that paperwork
or more trips to the hospital are needed.
Clinical trials study how safe and helpful new tests or
treatments are. When found to be safe and helpful, they
may become tomorrow’s standard of care. However,
there is no way to know this before the trial is done.
Clinical trials can study many things, such as:
• New drugs not yet approved by the U.S. FDA (
• New uses of drugs already approved by the FDA,
• New combinations of drugs,
• New ways to give drugs, such as in pill form,
• Use of alternative medicine, such as herbs and
• New tests to find and track disease, and
• Drugs or procedures that relieve symptoms.