Join Clinical Trials for Endometrial Cancer
The endometrium is the tissue that lines the uterus, and it too can be affected by cancer. In fact, over 47,000 new cases of endometrial cancer are estimated to be diagnosed in 2012 in the United States, and 8,000 will likely die from the disease. The treatment for endometrial cancer generally depends on the extent of the tumor, and whether or not it has begun to invade the muscle layer of the uterus.
It also depends on other factors as well, including the grade of the tumor. Tumor grade is determined by examining a tissue sample of the tumor under a microscope. High-grade tumors tend to grow faster than low-grade tumors, which can help to estimate prognosis and guide treatment options. In addition to grade, the woman’s age and general health status are also taken into consideration when deciding on a method of treatment.
Clinical trials for endometrial cancer currently are currently focused on more effective methods of detecting and treating endometrial cancer. In addition, research is also looking into genetic influences that cause endometrial cancer to develop in the first place, as well as run in families. Finally, new surgical options for treatment are also being investigated.
What Will Clinical Trials for Endometrial Cancer Be Like?
Endometrial cancer clinical trials may involve many common tests and procedures; however, the ultimate design of the particular study will determine which specific procedures you will undergo. Examples of specific tests and procedures that may be used in a clinical trial for endometrial cancer include the following:
- Physical exam and detailed family history information
- Pelvic exam
- Pap smear
- Blood and/or tissue sample for the purposes of conducting genetic testing.
- If the study is evaluating a new type of medication or vaccine, blood and/or urine tests may be performed to monitor how your body metabolizes the medication or how effectively your body has responded to the vaccine.
- Imaging procedures such computed tomography (CT scan, or “CAT scan”) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. These imaging procedures are non-invasive and provide detailed pictures of areas inside your body.
- Vaginal ultrasound
- Quality of life assessments to evaluate how your cancer is impacting your ability to perform activities of daily living.
- Pain assessments
Typical Endometrial Cancer Clinical Trial Protocol:
There is a variety of research currently being conducted for women with endometrial cancer. Sample clinical trials for endometrial cancer might include the following:
- A clinical trial to compare the effectiveness of different types of radiation therapy following surgery to remove the uterus
- A clinical trial to compare the use of standard chemotherapy plus radiation therapy versus standard chemotherapy alone to treat endometrial cancer.
- A clinical trial designed to evaluate if long-term use of hormonal contraceptives (e.g., birth control pills) is associated with an increased risk of endometrial cancer.
- A study to evaluate genetic mutations in endometrial cancers and determine if the presence of certain mutations indicate a more favorable response to a particular chemotherapy drug.
- A study to determine which type of surgical method used to remove the uterus leads to the fewest side effects for patients.
A brief word about randomized trials and placebos:
Clinical trials for endometrial cancer, like many clinical trials, involve the comparison of an investigational treatment to a “standard” treatment. Some studies determine which therapy a patient receives through a process known as randomization, in which patients are randomly assigned to receive either the investigational treatment or the standard treatment.
On occasion, a trial will investigate the use of a standard treatment plus a new drug compared to standard treatment plus a placebo. Placebos are inactive or “sham” treatments that are identical in appearance to the active treatment but have no therapeutic value.
Placebos are necessary to help determine if adverse effects that occur during the clinical trial are the result of the investigational treatment or due to some other factor. They also allow researchers to measure the effects of the active treatment and observe what would have happened without it.
In rare instances where no standard therapy exists, or when a new drug is being evaluated for the first time in a specific cancer, the investigational treatment might be compared to a placebo alone.
In these types of trials, those patients who are randomized to the placebo group do not receive an active treatment. This is rarely done in cancer clinical trials; however it may occasionally be necessary from a scientific standpoint.
Placebo-only trials will only be done when ethically appropriate and when patients have been adequately informed that they may end up receiving the placebo rather than the active treatment.
It is very important to note, however, that no one should ever participate in such a placebo trial when there is a widely available and highly effective standard treatment already in existence for their particular type of cancer and clinical situation.
Trial Eligibility and Medical Information Needed:
The type of clinical trial you may be eligible for often depends on many factors, including your disease stage, treatment history, and a variety of clinical findings. Therefore, it is important to know many details pertaining to your specific diagnosis when searching for clinical trials. Examples of the details you will want to have on hand include:
- The name, location, size, stage, and cell type of your cancer, as well as the locations of any metastases you have. Also know these details for any prior cancer you have had.
- Know your performance status, which estimates how well you perform normal activities of daily living. Examples: Karnofsky Performance Scale (KPS) and the ECOG scale.
- Know your treatment history, including chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, and/or surgery.
- Know your blood cell counts, liver function test results, and kidney function test results.
Suggested Search Terms:
“clinical trials for endometrial cancer,” “endometrial cancer treatment,” “endometrial cancer chemotherapy,” “endometrial cancer radiation therapy,” “endometrial cancer management,” “endometrial cancer surgery,” “advanced endometrial cancer,” “high grade endometrial cancer,” “low grade endometrial cancer,” and “endometrial cancer screening.”
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General Clinical Trial Information