Clinical Trials Terms

If you're considering a clinical trial, it will help to understand commonly used terms. For more information, talk with your doctor or contact staff at the Loran Smith Center for Cancer Support.

Phase I Trials: These are the first stage of studies in people and they evaluate the safety and dosage of a new drug or treatment.

Phase II Trials: These studies continue to test the safety of a drug and begin to evaluate how well the new drug works.

Phase III Trials: These studies confirm the effectiveness of the study drug or treatment and compare it to the current standard of care.

Randomized Trial: A trial design in which participants are assigned by chance to a treatment group. The researchers do not know which treatment is better.

Double-Blind Study: A design in which neither the participating individuals nor the study staff know which participants are receiving the experimental drug.

Controlled Trials for Cancer: One group of participants is given the standard of care (this is the control group), while another group is given the standard treatment plus an experimental drug or therapy.

Placebo: A placebo is an inactive pill, liquid or powder that has no treatment value. In cancer clinical trials, it is very rare for a patient to receive only a placebo. Experimental treatments can be compared with placebos to assess the treatment's effectiveness.

First Line Study: These studies evaluate treatments given first after cancer has advanced.

Second Line Study: These studies evaluate second treatments or therapies after cancer has advanced and the first line therapy is no longer working.

Source: Lung Cancer Alliance