In the simplest terms possible, the purpose of a clinical trial is to test how a given treatment will work. At the end of such a trial, the results should provide a view of the effects of that treatment on a designated population of patients. The participants should have a similar starting point in order to compare the reaction and results of the treatment being employed. The rarity of S/LCCC presents a challenge when dealing with clinical trials, as it is difficult to assemble enough patients with a similar baseline in order to draw valid conclusions at the end of the trial. For example, M.D. Anderson gained approval for a Phase II clinical trial in recent years but was forced to close it because not enough patients could be recruited to participate.
There are presently clinical trials with more expansive criteria that may be available to women with SCCC/LCCC. For example, trials may be available for patients with high-grade neuroendocrine tumors, regardless of where the original tumor was located. The best resource for seeking out clinical trials is the ClinicalTrials.org website from the U.S. National Institutes of Health. This site includes a search feature as well as how-to information to locate applicable trials.
Your oncologist should also be able to seek out clinical trials for which you may be eligible. However, you are your best advocate, so do your homework without relying on your doctor to bring options to you! Many oncologists have never treated a patient with a high-grade neuroendocrine tumor, and they may not be up-to-speed on the innovative therapies that are in clinical trials. Other patients, especially those in the Small and Large Cell Cervical Cancer community on Facebook, are another excellent resource for finding out about clinical trial opportunities.