Oncologist-approved cancer information from the American Society of Clinical Oncology

Clinical Trials

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This section provides information on clinical trials.


Listen to the Cancer.Net Podcast: What Are Clinical Trials?, adapted from this content.

Watch the Cancer.Net Video: What are Clinical Trials?, with Richard Goldberg, MD, adapted from this content.

About Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are research studies that test new treatment and prevention methods to find out if they are safe, effective, and better than the current standard of care (the best known treatment).

Patient Safety and Informed Consent

Because patient safety is the highest priority in clinical trials, every research study must follow a rigorous review and oversight process.

Placebos in Cancer Clinical Trials

A placebo is an inactive drug or treatment in a clinical trial and is often referred to as a “sugar pill.” A placebo-controlled trial compares a new treatment with a placebo; people who receive a placebo are called the control group. The use of placebos in cancer clinical trials is rare. Cancer.Net talked with Richard L. Schilsky, MD, in 2008 to learn more about the emerging use of placebos in cancer clinical trials. This article was updated in 2012.

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