Clinical Trials Seen as Beneficial for Patients
When your cancer treatments are no longer beneficial to you, should you take
part in a clinical trial? Many people have the idea that clinical trials offer
little more than false hope to patients who have few options left. But a new
study has shown that clinical trials can be more helpful to patients than
experts previously believed.
Results of clinical trials can vary widely, of course. But the study, which
comprised 11,935 participants and 480 tests, showed that
- About 3 percent of patients experienced a disappearance
of their cancer
- 8 percent experience substantial shrinkage of tumors
- About 34 percent experienced stabilization of their
disease or some degree of tumor shrinkage
- Many patients say that their quality of life is improved
because they have not given up.
Patients saw the highest responses when they took part in trials that
combined already-approved drugs with experimental drugs, or when they took
approved drugs in experimental doses.
New England Journal of Medicine, 3 March 2005.