Help With Your Clinical Trial Search
This page explains how to search for trials and review the results of your searches. It is helpful to gather as much information as possible before a search. Information such as the specific type and stage of cancer, the type of trial that might be relevant (treatment, diagnostic, supportive care), and other details about the patient will be helpful. Speak with a health care provider to gather this information and make sure you review the information that you find with the health care provider.
- In general, the more criteria you specify, the fewer clinical trials your search will retrieve. For a simple search, you can choose a Cancer Type, Stage/Subtype of Cancer, Location of Trial, and/or Type of Trial.
- To focus your search, you can specify more detailed information about the trials you wish to view or even search by a clinical trial identification number.
- Skip any items on the form that you don't know or that don't apply to you.
- Hospital/Institution selection
- Drug selection
- Treatment/Intervention selection
- Trial Investigator selection
- Lead Organization selection
If you have questions while working with the search form, you can call 1-800-4-CANCER for help from NCI's Cancer Information Service. You can also contact LiveHelp, NCI's online chat service, for help. The last section of this Help document has more details about LiveHelp and our phone service.
How to Find Clinical Trials Using the Search Form
The clinical trials search form allows you to search for trials using one or more criteria. Not all of the criteria are visible in the default display of the form. Some of the criteria are organized in groups, for example, Trial/Treatment Type includes Trial Type, Drug, and Treatment/Interventions. You can click on "Show Search Options" to see all of the options within a group.
Use this list to choose the type of cancer being studied in a clinical trial(s), e.g., bladder cancer, prostate cancer. You also have the option of choosing "All."
- If you want trials for any type of solid tumor, select "Solid tumor, unspecified."
- For trials that treat metastatic cancer, select "Metastatic cancer."
- You can also search for trials on cancer-related conditions by choosing either the specific condition (e.g., fatigue) or "Cancer- and cancer treatment-related conditions."
After you choose a type of cancer, this list will show you the stages/subtypes for the selected cancer. The stage of cancer is the extent of cancer within the body. You may select one or more stages/subtypes or "All."
- If you want a definition of the stage/subtype of cancer, please check the NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms.
- If you choose "Cancer- and cancer treatment-related conditions" from the Cancer Type/Condition list, the Stage/Subtype box will show you a list of conditions that may result from having cancer or being treated for cancer.
Location of Trial
Use these options to search for trials near a specific zip code, in a city, state, and country, at a Hospital/Institution, or at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland.
Near ZIP Code
Enter either your zip code to search for trials in your area or the zip code of another area of interest.
- By default, searches are limited to within 100 miles of the zip code that you enter. Use the drop-down list to change this to choices between 20 and 500 miles.
- The link to "zip code Lookup" pops up a page from the U.S. Postal Service website. Find the zip code by entering the address and clicking Submit. You can copy the zip code from the pop-up window into the search form.
Enter a combination of city, state, and country to search for trials in that area.
- You can select one or more U.S. states using the State list.
- The Country list includes non-U.S. states/provinces, such as Canada - Quebec.
Use this search option if you are looking for trials conducted at a specific hospital or institution. Use the "choose from list" link to look up a hospital or institution name.
- When you click on "choose from list," a new window will pop up. You can search for a particular name or look through the list alphabetically.
- Check the box next to the hospital(s) or institution(s) you want and click the "Add Selected" button at the bottom left of the pop-up window. The name(s) will be entered automatically into the form.
- The search results will list trials that include any of the names you selected.
- Use this field to find trials taking place at military or VA hospitals. To find VA facilities, use the "choose from list" and select the letter "V". This will display the VA facilities in the database.
At NIH Only
Select the At NIH button to show only trials being conducted at the NIH Clinical Center (Bethesda, MD.). See the NCI Fact Sheet on Cancer Clinical Trials at the NIH Clinical Center for more information.
Use these options to search for a specific type of trial, or trials using a specific drug or intervention.
Type of Trial
Use this list to choose the type of trial. Some trials fall into more than one category. You may check more than one box or select "All." The following trial types are available:
- Treatment - trials that test how safe new treatments are and how well they work.
- Supportive care - trials that study ways to prevent or relieve side effects of cancer and its treatment, and ways to improve patients' quality of life during and after treatment.
- Screening - trials that check for cancer in people who do not have any signs of cancer.
- Prevention - trials that study ways to prevent cancer.
- Genetics - trials that study the genetic factors that may affect a person's risk of cancer or how a person will respond to cancer treatment.
- Diagnostic - trials that study tests and procedures to diagnose cancer, find out if cancer has spread in the body, or test how well cancer responds to treatment.
- Biomarker/Laboratory analysis - trials that study new biomarkers for cancer and changes that occur in cancer cells.
- Tissue collection/Repository - trials that collect cells or tissues from cancer patients for use in laboratory studies now or in the future.
- Educational/Counseling/Training - trials that study how patient counseling or training and education for patients and health care providers affect decisions about cancer prevention and treatment, or quality of life.
- Behavioral - trials that study how to help people behave in healthy ways to prevent cancer or detect it early.
- Natural history/Epidemiology - trials that study the long-term effects of cancer or its treatment in patients and the patterns, causes, and control of cancer in groups of people.
- Health services research - trials that study how health care is provided to people.
Use the "choose from list" link to look up a drug name.
- When you click on "choose from list," a new window will pop up. You can search for a particular drug or look through the list alphabetically. Check the box next to the drug(s) you want and click the "Add Selected" button at the bottom left of the pop-up window. The drug name(s) will be entered automatically into the form.
- The search results will list trials that include any of the drug names you selected unless you click the choice labeled, "Find trials that include all drugs shown."
- You can use different drug names such as generic, brand/trade, and short names to search. For example, you can use Avastin (brand name) or bevacizumab (generic name).
Type of Treatment /Intervention
Use the "choose from list" link to look up a treatment or intervention name. For example, use this option to find trials that are using "high-dose chemotherapy" or "brachytherapy."
- When you click on "choose from list," a new window will pop up. You can search for a particular treatment or intervention or look through the list alphabetically. Check the box next to the treatment/intervention(s) you want and click the "Add Selected" button at the bottom left of the pop-up window. The name(s) will be entered automatically into the form.
- The search results will list trials that include any of the treatments/interventions you selected.
Search for trials that contain the word or phrase you enter into the search box. For best results, use this search option in combination with other search fields. For example, to search for breast cancer trials for a patient who is HER-2 negative, choose breast cancer from the Cancer Type option and enter "HER-2 negative" in the keyword box.
- Use quote marks around a phrase to search for trials containing the whole phrase.
- Some trials you retrieve may contain the word or phrase as part of an exclusion criteria.
- Results are presented by order of relevance to the word or phrase entered.
- Using general words like cancer or disease will retrieve a large number of trials that may not be relevant.
Use this field to select the 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. You may select one or more trial phases, or choose "All." Phase may not be applicable to all trials, e.g., Natural history/Epidemiology trials.
- 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.
Checking this box limits search results to only those trials added in the last 30 days.
- New trials are posted to the website daily, Monday through Friday.
A Trial ID is an identification (ID) number that makes it easy to find a specific trial. 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 or semicolons.
- The search results will list trials that include any of the IDs you entered.
Trial Investigators/Lead Organization
Use this option to select medical professionals and researchers who are conducting the trial. Use the "choose from list" link to look up an investigator name.
- If you click on "choose from list," a new window will pop up that allows you to search for a trial investigator by name. Check the box next to the investigator(s) you want and click the "Add Selected" button at the bottom left of the pop-up window. The investigator name(s) will be entered automatically into the form.
- The search results will list trials that include any of the investigator names you selected.
Use this option if you wish to select an academic hospital, research institute, pharmaceutical company, or cancer center responsible for coordinating the trial. Use the "choose from list" link to look up the name.
- If you click on "choose from list," a new window will pop up. You can search for a particular name or acronym or look through the list alphabetically. Check the box next to the organization(s) or group(s) you want and click the "Add Selected" button at the bottom left of the pop-up window. The name(s) will be entered automatically into the form.
- The search results will list trials that include any of the names you selected.
Help With Your Clinical Trial Search Results
The Search Results page displays a list of trials that match the criteria that you selected on the search form. On this page, you can:
- Click on the title of each trial to see a full description, including contact information.
- Read the trial titles and key information about the trials, as well as select the information you want to see for each trial.
- Sort the results in various ways and change the number of results you see on each page.
- Use check boxes to select the trials you want to print in the format you've chosen.
Choosing Display Options
- The number of trials that match your criteria and the number of trials displayed per page are shown. You can also see the search criteria that you entered in the search form or choose to hide the criteria.
- Use the "Display" buttons to select the information you want to see about the trial(s); then click "Go." The search results page will refresh and show the information in the format that you selected.
- Choose the "Description" button to see information about the purpose of the trial and other limited details. In addition, you can choose to see this description with the eligibility criteria (the requirements that must be met for an individual to be included in a trial). You can also choose to see the locations for the trial.
- Choose the "Custom" button to create a custom display using information from the trial.
Use the check boxes to select the information you want to display for each trial.
More Options for Displaying Search Results
You can make changes to the order in which trials are displayed and the number of results shown per page. Remember to click the "Go" button to change your display.
- Use the "Sort by" drop-down list to reorder the trials by one of the options listed. By default, the trials are ordered in descending order by phase:
If you enter keywords as part of your search criteria, the results will be ordered by relevance to the text you entered.
- Use the "Show Results per Page" drop-down list to change the number of trials displayed on each page.
- Print: To print your search results, use the check boxes at the start or end of each trial description to select one or more trials for printing. Then click on the "Print Selected" button above the list of trials or at the bottom of the page.
- Refine Search: Your search results may include trials that are not exactly what you want, or you may wish to change some of your search criteria. The "Refine Search" button above the list of results and at the bottom of the page takes you back to the search form with your original criteria still in place. You may select additional search criteria or change already selected criteria.
- Start Over: To start a new search, click on the "Start Over" button above the list of results or at the bottom of the page.
Help with Understanding Trial Descriptions
This section will help you understand the information that is shown for each trial.
Summary - An outline of the purpose of the study and a general description of what is being done.
Further Study Information - More details about the study, for example, specific information about the treatment plan.
Eligibility Criteria - A list of the requirements a person must meet to participate in the trial. The criteria may be labeled "Inclusion" or "Exclusion." See definition of eligibility criteria.
Trial Contact Information - Information about contacts that you can call or e-mail about this trial. You or your health care provider may want to look for contacts that are close to your location.
- Trial Lead Organizations - A list of one or more academic hospitals, research institutions, pharmaceutical companies, cancer centers responsible for coordinating the trial.
- Trial Sites - The people or organizations conducting the trial. They can provide more information about the trial, including eligibility and the enrollment process. Sometimes there may be a central number for all sites and the name of the hospital/institution may not be provided.
How to Get Help from NCI’s Cancer Information Service
If you do not want to search for trials on your own, you can get help by telephone from an experienced information specialist or use the live, online help available through NCI's Cancer Information Service (CIS). Our information specialists will help you perform a search while talking to you, or they will take information about your needs, perform the search for you after you talk, and send you the results.
- To get help from a specialist, call NCI's Cancer Information Service (CIS) at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237) between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. Eastern time, Monday - Friday. The CIS specialist will ask about your specific situation and provide information relevant to your needs.
- Live, online help is available through the CIS LiveHelp instant messaging service Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Eastern time.