NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, Version 1.2017
Part 4 describes the main treatments
that are used for ALL. Knowing what a
treatment is will help you understand your
treatment options listed in the Treatment
guide in Part 5. There is more than one
treatment for ALL.
Clinical trials are a very important treatment option
for ALL. New tests and treatments aren’t offered to
the public as soon as they’re made. They first need
to be studied. A clinical trial is a type of research that
studies a test or treatment.
Clinical trials study how safe and helpful tests and
treatments are. When found to be safe and helpful,
they may become tomorrow’s standard of care.
Because of clinical trials, the tests and treatments in
this book are now widely used to help people with
ALL. Future tests and treatments that may have
better results than today’s treatments will depend on
Clinical trials are an important treatment option
for people with ALL. Doctors are still studying
what treatments work best for ALL. NCCN experts
recommend that all patients with ALL receive
treatment on a clinical trial if possible. Receiving
treatment on a clinical trial has been shown to
New tests and treatments go through a series of
clinical trials to make sure they’re safe and work.
Without clinical trials, there is no way to know if a test
or treatment is safe or helpful. Clinical trials are done
in four steps, called phases.
Some examples of the four phases of clinical trials
for treatment are:
trials aim to find the best dose and way
to give a new drug with the fewest side effects.
trials assess if a drug works to treat a
specific type of cancer.
trials compare a new drug to the
trials test new drugs approved by the
many patients with different types of cancer.
Joining a clinical trial has benefits. First, you’ll have
access to the most current cancer care. Second, you
will receive the best management of care. Third, the
results of your treatment—both good and bad—will
be carefully tracked. Fourth, you may help other
people who will have cancer in the future.
Clinical trials have risks, too. Like any other 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
To join a clinical trial, you must meet the conditions
of the study. Patients in a clinical trial often have a
similar cancer type and general health. This is to
know that any progress is because of the treatment
and not because of differences between patients.
To join, you’ll need to review and sign a paper called
an informed consent form. This form describes the
study in detail. The study’s risks and benefits should
be described and may include others than those