Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among American women. Around 250,000 women and 2,300 men are diagnosed with breast cancer each year in the United States. Each year, breast cancer kills around 42000 women and 510 men in the United States.
With advancements in management options for breast cancer, the survival rate and quality of life of the affected patients have greatly improved. Clinical trials for breast cancer have played a pivotal role in these advancements. Clinical trials are the various research studies that involve people. These trials test the safety and benefits of new treatment modalities and how well new combinations or new dosages of already existing medications work. Clinical trials also explore various other aspects, such as breast cancer prevention, diagnosis, and screening strategies.
You can volunteer to get enrolled in a breast cancer clinical trial. Each trial enrolls people with certain conditions and symptoms. Enrolling in a breast cancer treatment trial will help you receive the treatment before it is widely available to the public. By participating in the trial, you would help develop the knowledge base to improve breast cancer care.
Clinical trials for breast cancer involve three main phases:
- Phase I: This is the initial phase that tests whether the new promising drugs effectively kill cancer cells in laboratory experiments. It tells about the safe dose for the drugs and their benefits in managing cancer. This phase generally enrolls fewer than 50 patients.
- Phase II: This phase starts when the safe dose of a drug has been established in the phase I trial. Phase II explores the potential benefit and side effects of the drug. Fewer than 100 patients are enrolled in this phase.
- Phase III: Phase III begins when the drug or regimen proves promising activity in the phase II trial. This phase involves comparing the new treatment with an existing standard treatment regimen. A comparison may also be done between the new treatment and placebo (such as a sugar pill). Hundreds of thousands of patients may be enrolled in this phase to know whether the new treatment is better than the standard treatment and warrants US FDA approval.
There are various clinical trials presently being conducted for breast cancer. A few of them are:
- Weight loss interventions in treating overweight and obese women with a higher risk for breast cancer recurrence: This is a phase III trial that is dedicated to finding out whether weight loss programs for obese and overweight women diagnosed with breast cancer lowers the risk for breast cancer recurrence.
- Aspirin in preventing the recurrence of cancer in patients with node-positive or high-risk node-negative and HER2-negative breast cancer after chemotherapy, surgery, and/or radiation therapy: This phase III clinical trial is exploring the effect of the drug Aspirin in preventing breast cancer recurrence.
- Doxorubicin hydrochloride and cyclophosphamide followed by Paclitaxel with or without Carboplatin in treating patients with triple-negative breast cancer: This phase III trial is exploring the role of the drugs Doxorubicin hydrochloride and Cyclophosphamide followed by Paclitaxel with or without Carboplatin in treating patients with triple-negative breast cancer.
- Testing the ability to decrease chemotherapy in patients with HER2-positive breast cancer who have no remaining cancer at surgery after limited pre-operative chemotherapy and HER2-targeted therapy: This trial explores the effect of the drugs paclitaxel, trastuzumab, and pertuzumab in eliminating further chemotherapy after surgery in patients with HER2-positive stage II-IIIa breast cancer, who have no cancer remaining at surgery (either in the breast or underarm lymph nodes) after preoperative chemotherapy and HER2-targeted therapy.
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