Why participate in a trial?

Participation in a clinical trial does assist with the advancement of medical knowledge.

People take part in trials for a number of reasons. They may receive a new treatment before it is widely available to other cancer patients. Evidence shows people can also have better outcomes because they have been involved in a trial, even if they have received standard treatment. This may be because most participants on a clinical trial receive carefully and most often rigorously monitored treatment and follow-up.

It is extremely important that all new therapies and procedures be scientifically proven and long term safety determined before they can be recommended for general or standard use.

Is a trial suitable for you?

Your Surgeon or Oncologist (Cancer Doctor or Specialist) may suggest that you consider taking part in a clinical trial that they may be contributing to or know of one being done at another centre.

If you are interested in taking part in a study ask your Surgeon or Oncology Doctor.

Your Surgeon or Oncology Doctor will explain a trial to you including the known benefits and risks of a new treatment or procedure. A patient information sheet giving the details of the research will also be given to you before you agree (consent) to take part in a trial.

Open clinical trials

The Breast Cancer Research Trust has currently four clinical trials open to new patients:

The EXPERT trial

The EXPERT clinical trial is a randomised phase 3 trial open to women aged 50 years or older, with Hormone Receptor (HR) positive, Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2 (HER2) negative, early stage breast cancer. EXPERT uses a genomic test of breast cancer tissue to select women who can safely avoid radiation therapy. The trial aims to improve personalised use of radiation therapy in early breast cancer patients, according to individual risk of local recurrence. Learn more about EXPERT here.

The Lymph Node Grafting clinical trial

The trial is looking into lymph node grafting for upper limb lymphoedema following breast cancer treatment. With an aim of determining whether lymph node grafting plus standard lymphoedema therapy produces a greater reduction in lymphoedema volume and improved quality of life for those with upper limb lymphedema. Learn more about the Lymph Node Grafting trial here

ABCpro study

This study is introducing a new service where patients complete weekly online surveys about common symptoms of advanced breast cancer (ABC) and side effects associated with ABC treatments. The survey responses are then sent to an ABC nurse who will use the responses to assist patients to better manage symptoms and side effects from home in between regular clinic visits. The survey responses will also help patients oncology team to decide if further tests or treatments are needed. Learn more about the ABCpro study here.

PersevERA trial

This trial is investigating hormone therapies for those with estrogen receptor (ER) positive breast cancer that has spread. The trial will compare the effects of GDC-9545 (an investigational new drug designed to block estrogen, also known as giredestrant) given in combination with a currently approved targeted drug called Palbociclib versus Letrozole (a hormone therapy for women who have gone through the menopause) given in combonation with Palbociclib. You can learn more about the PersevERA trial here.

Where are the participating centres for breast cancer trials in New Zealand?

In New Zealand, breast cancer clinical trials are available at Cancer Centres or Breast Clinics at North Shore, Auckland, Waikato, Palmerston North, Welllington, Christchurch and Dunedin Public Hospitals.

Some Cancer Specialists in private clinics participate in breast cancer clinical trials. Do ask your treating Oncology Doctor if there is a trial available for your situation.