Every clinical trial has unique requirements for participation. These requirements are called eligibility criteria and may include things like the stage of your cancer, the type of breast cancer you have, and any treatment you received in the past.
When considering if a specific clinical trial is a good fit for you, a doctor evaluates:
- The stage of the breast cancer (1 through 4) at diagnosis, which tells them how big the tumor is and if the cancer has spread outside of the breast(s)
- The tumor grade score (1 to 3). Grade 1 cells look more like normal cells compared to Grade 3 cells
- Whether this is first-time cancer or cancer that has returned after prior therapy
- Your age, menopausal status, overall health, and treatment preferences
Other things a doctor may consider in evaluating whether a specific clinical trial is right for you:
- Hormone receptor status: Some breast cancer cells have estrogen and/or progesterone receptors on their surface and require the hormones estrogen and/or progesterone to grow. This is described as being hormone receptor-positive, or HR-positive breast cancer. If the cancer cells have only estrogen receptors on their surface and require estrogen to grow, this is described as being estrogen receptor-positive, or ER-positive breast cancer.
- Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) status: HER2 is another kind of receptor found on the surface of some breast cancer cells. When there are too many HER2 receptors, it is described as HER2-positive breast cancer and can lead to uncontrolled breast cell division and tumor formation.
- Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC): Triple-negative breast cancer does not have any of the receptors commonly found in breast cancer, namely the receptors for estrogen, progesterone, or HER2.