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NCCN Guidelines for Patients

®

Soft Tissue Sarcoma, Version 1.2014

12

1

Sarcoma basics

Clinical trials | Review

Clinical trials

New tests and treatments aren’t offered to the public

as soon as they’re made. They need to be studied.

New uses of tests and treatments also 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

patients.

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 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 for a

specific type of cancer.

Phase III trials

compare a new drug to the

standard treatment.

Phase IV trials

involve drugs already

approved by the U.S. FDA (

F

ood and

D

rug

A

dministration) for at least one disease.

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 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 work better than current

treatments. Another downside may be that there may

be more paperwork or more trips to the hospital.

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 seen at the end of the

study 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, including

the risks and benefits.

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 6.

Review

• Soft tissue supports, connects, and surrounds

parts of your body.

• Local treatments for soft tissue sarcoma

include surgery, radiation therapy, abalation,

and embolization.

• Drug treatments include chemotherapy,

targeted therapy, and immunotherapy.

• Clinical trials give people access to new tests

and treatments.