Learn About Pancreatic Cancer Clinical Trials

What are clinical trials?
Clinical trials are research studies that investigate new treatments or new combinations of treatments. They also observe patient performance with these new treatments.

Pancreatic cancer clinical trials are necessary to determine whether new treatments developed in the laboratory are beneficial to people living with pancreatic cancer. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviews and analyzes data from successful clinical trials to determine whether an experimental treatment should be approved for a specific disease or disorder, such as pancreatic cancer.

  • Clinical trials are the only way that researchers can develop new treatment options for pancreatic cancer. Currently, only about 4.5% of pancreatic cancer patients enroll in clinical trials. Many patients are not aware of this option. Increased patient participation would facilitate treatment progress.
  • It is important for you to know that inactive treatments, or placebos, are never used in place of active cancer treatment. Participants in a cancer clinical trial will receive either the standard of care treatment option or the new treatment.
  • Clinical trials for pancreatic cancer may be carried out using completely new treatment options. Sometimes clinical trials use treatments that are already available for other cancers or conditions.

“Being part of a clinical trial has shown me the difference between thinking ‘outside of the box’ in terms of patient care and treatment, and accepting what was essentially a hopeless diagnosis. My trial gave me the hope I needed to face my fears.”
–Pancreatic cancer trial participant

Why are clinical trials important?

  • Patients can have the opportunity to receive a promising drug or treatment.
  • Researchers can confirm whether new treatments are beneficial for patients. Many clinical trials are currently in progress, studying new drugs, drug combinations, and other treatments for pancreatic cancer.
  • You can make treatment progress possible. Trials need pancreatic cancer patients. And, pancreatic cancer patients who participate in a trial may benefit from receiving cutting edge treatment.

Our highly trained Patient & Liaison Services (PALS) Associates can help you simplify the process and perform a customized clinical trials search for you. Once you know your potential clinical trial options, you can then discuss them with your physician.

“Without clinical trials, we will not be able to develop new drugs and new treatments that will hopefully increase survival and the cure rate of this disease.”
–Jordan Berlin, MD, Pancreatic cancer oncologist, Immediate Past Chair of the organization’s Medical Advisory Board


The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network recommends that all patients consider clinical trials when exploring treatment options.

How does a new treatment get FDA approval?
What rights and protections do participants have in a clinical trial?
Common concerns about clinical trials
Benefits and considerations


Information provided by the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, Inc. (“PanCAN”) is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or other health care services. PanCAN may provide information to you about physicians, products, services, clinical trials or treatments related to pancreatic cancer, but PanCAN does not recommend nor endorse any particular health care resource. In addition, please note that any personal information you provide to PanCAN’s associates during telephone and/or email communications may be stored and used to help PanCAN achieve its mission of assisting patients with, and finding cures and treatments for, pancreatic cancer. Stored constituent information may be used to inform PanCAN programs and activities. Information also may be provided in aggregate or limited formats to third parties to guide future pancreatic cancer research and treatment efforts. PanCAN will not provide personal directly identifying information (such as your name or contact information) to such third parties without your prior written consent unless required or permitted by law to do so.