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.
Each option on the form is described in the following sections with tips to make your search more effective. You can skip any options that you don't know or that don't apply to your situation.
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. This search option works only for trials that are active (recruiting patients).
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 Web site. 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 these options to search for trials by the status (active or closed) or by the phase of the trial, and to search for trials that were added within the last 30 days.
Use this option to choose whether to search for active trials (accepting new patients) or closed trials (no longer accepting new patients).
- The default is for active trials.
- Closed trials may have published information describing what researchers have already studied and learned.
- Closed trials are not searchable by location.
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 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.
- Phase may not be applicable to all trials, e.g., Natural history/Epidemiology trials.
Checking this box limits search results to only those trials added in the last 30 days.
- New trials are posted to the Web site daily, Monday through Friday.
Use these options to search for trials by protocol ID, sponsor, investigators, lead organization/cooperative group, or special category.
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.
Sponsor of Trial
Use this option if you wish to select a sponsor category. 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. You may select one or more sponsors, or choose "All."
- You can limit your results to trials sponsored by 1) one of the institutes or centers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on the list, 2) pharmaceutical companies, or 3) other medical/research institutions.
- Trials sponsored by one of the institutes or centers of the NIH can be located anywhere (not just the NIH campus).
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. You can search for a particular name or look through the list alphabetically. 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.
Lead Organization or Cooperative Group
Use this option if you wish to select an academic hospital, research institute, pharmaceutical company, cancer center, or cooperative group responsible for coordinating the trial. Use the "choose from list" link to look up the name.
- Cooperative groups are NCI-funded groups of institutions, researchers, and community physicians. More information is available in NCI's Clinical Trials Cooperative Group Program.
- 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.
Use this list to select a special trial category. You may choose more than one, or select "All." The following special categories are available:
- CTSU trials - The Cancer Trials Support Unit (CTSU) is a project sponsored by NCI's Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program (CTEP) designed to give physicians and patients greater access to NCI-sponsored, phase III, adult cooperative group clinical trials. Cooperative Group sites located within the United States and Canada are currently eligible for participation in the CTSU. In addition, the CTSU is open to physicians and institutions in the United States who are not affiliated with a Cooperative Group.
- Group C-Treatment IND trials - These trials use Group C-designated drugs, investigational drugs found to have anti-tumor activity which are awaiting final FDA approval and are not yet available on the market.
- NCI-CMS pilot project trials - These trials were selected for a pilot project between the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Under this pilot project, the CMS will cover the routine and non-routine costs for these trials.
- NCI Avon award trials - Breast cancer trials funded by the NCI-Avon Progress of Patients Awards program, a partnership between NCI and the Avon Foundation, the charitable arm of Avon Products, Inc.
- NCI Cancer Bulletin featured trials - NCI-sponsored trials that were highlighted in a Cancer Bulletin article to give them added attention.
- NIH Clinical Center trials - Trials being conducted at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Md.
- SPORE trials - Trials funded through NCI's Specialized Programs Of Research Excellence (SPOREs). The goal of the SPORE program is to bring to clinical care settings novel ideas that have the potential to reduce cancer incidence and mortality, improve survival, and improve the quality of life. Laboratory and clinical scientists work collaboratively to plan, design, and implement research programs that impact on cancer prevention, detection, diagnosis, treatment, and control.
- Treatment Referral Center (TRC) trials - These trials offer investigational treatments for certain high priority agents or diseases and are available only at NCI-designated cancer centers.