NCCN Guidelines for Patients® | Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
26 NCCN Guidelines for Patients ® : Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, 2018 3 Cancer treatments Clinical trials In Part 3, the main treatment types that are recommended by NCCN experts for CLL are briefly described. These treatments are for people who have or will be starting treatment. Knowing what a treatment is will help you understand your treatment options listed in Part 4. There is more than one treatment for CLL. Not every person with CLL will receive every treatment described in this chapter. Clinical trials 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 are the preferred treatment option of NCCN experts for CLL. 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 CLL. Future tests and treatments that may have better results than today’s treatments will depend on clinical trials. 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 have four phases. Some examples of the four phases for treatment are: Phase I trials – aim to find the best dose of a new drug with the fewest side effects. Phase II trials – assess if a drug works to treat a specific type of cancer. Phase III trials – compare a new drug to the standard treatment. Phase IV trials – test new drugs approved by the U.S. FDA ( F ood and D rug A dministration) in 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 test or treatment, there may be side effects. Side effects are unhealthy or unpleasant physical or emotional responses to treatment. Also, new tests or treatments may not help. Another downside may be that paperwork or more trips to the hospital are needed. To join a clinical trial, you must meet the conditions of the study. Patients in a clinical trial are often alike in terms of their cancer and general health. This is to know that any progress is because of the treatment and not because of differences between patients. Likewise, some clinical trials are only open to people who have not started treatment while others are. 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 listed above. Ask your treatment team if there is an open clinical trial that you can join. There may be clinical trials where you’re getting treatment or at other treatment centers nearby. You can also find clinical trials through the websites listed in Part 5.