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How to Find a Cancer Treatment Trial: A 10-Step Guide

  • Updated: 06/08/2010

Step 4: Search the U.S. National Cancer Institute's List of Cancer Clinical Trials

Many Web sites have lists of cancer clinical trials that are taking place in the United States. Some trials are sponsored by non-profit organizations, including the U.S. Federal government, and others are sponsored by for-profit groups, such as drug companies. In addition, there are hospitals and academic medical centers that sponsor trials conducted by their own researchers. Unfortunately, because of the many types of sponsors, no single list of clinical trials is complete.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI), which is part of the U.S. Federal government, has one of the most complete lists of cancer clinical trials available. This list can be searched on NCI’s Web site at on the Internet.

How to Search NCI’s List of Cancer Clinical Trials:

Helpful Tip: Remember to print out or save the clinical trial summary for each trial that interests you.
  • Call NCI's Cancer Information Service (CIS) at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237). The CIS provides free help in English and Spanish from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern time in the United States. All calls are strictly confidential.
    • Have your Cancer Details Checklist (PDF—91KB) handy when you call the CIS.
    • The CIS is staffed with understanding and knowledgeable cancer information specialists who will search NCI’s list of cancer clinical trials for you. They can send you the search results and clinical trial summaries by e-mail, fax, or regular mail. The CIS can also give you reliable information about your type of cancer and the usual treatment for the type of cancer you have.
    • If you would like help searching NCI’s list of cancer clinical trials while you are on the Internet, think about using LiveHelp. Through LiveHelp, you can communicate confidentially and in real time with a CIS information specialist. This service is available Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Eastern time.
Helpful Tip: The U.S. National Library of Medicine, another Federal agency, manages a Web site called, which lists clinical trials for cancer and many other diseases and conditions. The same cancer clinical trials can be found in the NCI and lists. The main difference is in how the information is searched and displayed. You may prefer one list over the other.