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Help Using the Basic Clinical Trial Search Form

How to Find Clinical Trials Using this Search Form

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How to Find a Cancer Treatment Trial
This guide will help you to learn about cancer treatment trials that are of potential benefit to you and to decide whether to participate in a particular trial.
About Your Search Results

There are two versions of each trial description - one designed for patients and another for health professionals. The patient version is written using non-technical language and the health professional version is written using technical terminology. You may move between the two by using the tabs near the top of the page.

Alternate Title

When using the basic search form your trial results will be displayed using the patient version of the trial description along with a patient-friendly or non-technical title. You will also see an alternate title, which is the health professional or more technical title.

Basic Trial Information

The basic trial information identifies the phase, type, status, age, sponsor, and protocol identification numbers.

Phase of Trial

Most clinical trials are designated as phase I, II, III, or IV, based on the type of questions the trial is trying to answer.

  • Phase I - trials that test the best way to give a new treatment (for example, by mouth, intravenous infusion, or injection) and the best dose.
  • Phase II - trials that test whether a new treatment has an anticancer effect (for example, whether it shrinks a tumor or improves blood test results) and whether it works against certain types of cancer.
  • Phase III - trials that compare the results of people taking a new treatment with the results of people taking the standard treatment (for example, which groups have better survival rates or fewer side effects).
  • Phase IV - trials that evaluate side effects that were not apparent in the phase III trial.

Type of Trial

The broad category describing the overall purpose of the trial. Some trials fall into more than one category.

  • Treatment - trials that study potential anticancer treatments, their safety, and their effectiveness.
  • Screening - trials that check for disease when there are no symptoms.
  • Genetics - trials that study the genetic factors that may influence the development of cancer or the response to cancer treatment.
  • Supportive care - trials that study treatments to prevent, control, or relieve complications and side effects and to improve patients' comfort and quality of life.
  • Prevention - trials that study ways to prevent disease.
  • Diagnostic - trials that evaluate methods of detecting disease.

Status of Trial

This category displays the status of the trials as active. Active trials are those accepting new patients.


Any age limits there may be for participating in the trial are listed.

Sponsor of Trial

For NCI trials, sponsorship is assigned based on how the trial is reviewed. For all others, assignment is based on who is coordinating or funding the trial. The three sponsorships for trials in PDQ are:

  • One of the institutes or centers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Other medical/research institutions

Some insurance companies may have restrictions on the trials they will cover. For example, they may cover costs for trials sponsored by some organizations but not others.

Protocol IDs

An identification (ID) number that makes it easy to find a specific trial (similar to a book's call number in a library). Use this field only if you know the ID number or partial ID for a specific trial.

  • Enter one or more protocol IDs, separating them with commas.
  • The search results will list trials that include any of the IDs you entered.

Trial Description

The trial description does not include all the details about the trial. You or your health care provider can use the contact information to find out more about the trial. Each trial description contains the following sections:


The type of trial being conducted, what treatments will be given or tests will be performed, and what researchers hope to accomplish.


The requirements that patients must meet to participate in the trial, so that the researchers can ensure the safety of patients and the scientific validity of the trial. For example, treatment trials may list type and stage of cancer, age, previous treatment, other health conditions, and more. The patient version of the trial description lists only some of the eligibility criteria. The health professional version of the trial description has a more complete list.

Treatment/ Intervention

The type of treatment or intervention, and how often it will be given.

Trial Lead Organizations

A list of one or more academic hospitals, research institutes, pharmaceutical companies, cancer centers, or cooperative groups responsible for coordinating the trial.

Trial Sites and Contacts

The people or organizations conducting the trial. They can provide more information about the trial, including eligibility, the enrollment process, and other details.

Note: Some of the trials in PDQ are cancer trials from the National Library of Medicine's (NLM) database. Because these trials are obtained from another database, they may not contain all of the categories of information listed above. Also, the trials from the database contain the same text in both the patient and health professional versions.

Related Information

Links to Web pages with information related to the clinical trial are listed.

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