NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Prostate Cancer, Version 1.2016
Overview of cancer treatments Clinical trials | Understudied treatments
New tests and treatments aren’t offered to the public
as soon as they’re made. They need to be studied. A
clinical trial is a type of research that studies a test or
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 men with
prostate cancer. 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. Examples of the four phases for treatment
trials aim to find the best dose of a
new drug with the fewest side effects.
trials assess if a drug works for a
specific type of cancer.
trials compare a new drug to the
trials test new drugs approved by
the U.S. FDA (
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. 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 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.
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
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 8.
The treatments described so far are those approved
by NCCN experts. These treatments have been
proven in clinical trials to be safe and work well.
You may have heard about other treatments. Some
treatments that are of great interest but need more
research are addressed next.
Cryosurgery as initial treatment
Cryosurgery is a treatment option following failure of
radiation therapy. It is not recommended as an initial
treatment at this time. More research is needed to
compare cryosurgery to prostatectomy and radiation