Phase III trials for mesothelioma enroll the largest number of participants (more than 100), and are available at multiple medical facilities across the country, as well as in various community settings. These trials are designed to determine whether the therapy under investigation is more effective than a current standard of treatment. Phase III trials often apply to survival time as well as quality of life, therefore, the results of these trials help guide medical professionals and cancer patients in making treatment decisions.
Phase III trials normally focus on a specific type of cancer. Participants are assigned at random to either an investigational group, which receives the new treatment, or a control group, which receives the current standard of treatment. Occasionally, Phase III trials include more than two study groups, depending on the goal of the trial.
Many cancer patients receive their first treatment in Phase III trials, since regardless of which group (investigational or control) the participant falls into, they are assured of receiving, at the very least, the most widely accepted standard treatment. If they receive the new treatment, they may be the first to benefit. It should be understood, however, that new treatments are not always better than, or even comparable to standard treatment, and that just as standard treatment does not work for everyone, neither may the new treatment. The most recent Phase III trial for mesothelioma was the Phase III Study of Onconase Plus Doxorubicin Versus Doxorubicin Alone for Patients With Malignant Pleural or Peritoneal Mesothelioma Who Have Had No More Than One Prior Chemotherapy Regimen. This trial continues as an active trial, however, it is no longer accruing patients.