In addition to standard chemotherapy, major research centers conduct studies of new brain tumor treatments. It is advisable to enter a research study if possible, both for reasons of potential personal benefit as well as for the benefit of others in the future. Neuro-oncologists, nurse practitioners, and research nurses can provide detailed information about clinical trials.
What types of trials are there?
New chemotherapy and biological agents are evaluated in a standard format called “clinical trials.”
- A Phase I trial is a small trial, typically with 10 to 12 patients. They are designed to test the toxicity of various doses of a new agent.
- A Phase II trial is a larger trial involving more patients to assess whether a new agent from the Phase I level can effectively treat a tumor.
- A Phase III trial is usually a very large trial designed to compare how the new agent, from the Phase I and II level, compares to the best currently available agent(s) treatments.
- A neoadjuvant trial is a trial looking at an agent that is administered after biopsy or surgery, but prior to irradiation.
- An adjuvant trial is a trial looking at an agent that is administered immediately after surgery and irradiation.
- A recurrent (salvage) trial is a trial looking at an agent that is administered at the time of tumor progression or recurrence.
Your oncologist and other medical specialists are a critical resource to help you evaluate clinical trial opportunities as they relate to your unique circumstance.