Clinical trials are an important step in discovering new treatments for cancer and other diseases. These trials are designed to identify new, more effective therapies, as well as help researchers and doctors decide whether the side effects of a new treatment are acceptable when weighed against the benefits. Patients who participate in clinical trials gain access to the very latest advances in cancer care developed by leading specialists.
Several clinical trials are currently underway to test new drugs for the treatment of mantle-cell lymphoma, and a number of additional studies are being planned. Some of these trials are for patients who have not yet received treatment, whereas others are for patients who have already been treated but their lymphoma has reappeared or is no longer responding to therapy.1,2
The decision to participate in a clinical trial is a very personal one, and should be made after careful consultation with the patient’s healthcare team. The answer will not be the same for everyone. The following questions may be helpful to consider when trying to decide whether to enroll in a trial:
- What are my goals and expectations if I decide to take part? Are they realistic?
- What input have I received from my doctors? Do they think clinical trial participation is a good option at this time?
- Have I considered the potential benefits versus the risks?
- Have I considered other possible factors, such as travel, time, and cost?
- Have I considered my other possible options?
Patients must take an active role in the decision-making process when it comes to treatment decisions, including participation in a clinical trial. Similar to all treatment options, clinical trials have possible benefits and risks that are important to consider.
Potential benefits associated with clinical trial participation include:
- Patients often have access to new, cutting-edge treatments that are not available to those outside of the trial
- Participants are monitored carefully by the research team
- Patients have the opportunity to help scientists learn more about cancer, which may help other people in the future.
Potential risks associated with clinical trial participation include:
- New treatments may not be better than, or even as good as, standard treatments
- New treatments may have side effects that doctors do not expect or that are worse than those of standard treatments
- Patients may be required to make more visits to the doctor than if they were receiving standard treatments
- Extra laboratory tests may be needed
- Health insurance may not cover all patient care costs associated with the trial.
Every clinical trial has a protocol, or study plan, that describes what will be done during the trial, how the trial will be conducted, and why each part of the trial is necessary. Patients who are considering participation have the right to read the protocol before making their decision.
- Steiner RE, Romaguera J, Wang J. Current trials for frontline therapy of mantle cell lymphoma. J Hematol Oncol. 2018;11:13.
- CenterWatch. Mantle cell lymphoma clinical trials. www.centerwatch.com/clinical-trials/listings/condition/628/mantle-cell-lymphoma. Accessed May 14, 2019.