Clinical trials are research studies in which new treatments are tested against current standard treatments. They involve patients taking new drugs or undergoing new treatments to see whether these are effective in combating disease.
There are numerous breast cancer clinical trials currently underway throughout New Zealand and the rest of the world. These aim to identify new and more effective ways of treating breast cancer or ways of preventing it from occurring.
On this page you can find out more about how clinical trials work and the clinical trials that are currently underway in New Zealand. To find out more about the latest international research, check out our research news.
- How does a clinical trial work?
Research nurse Jenni Scarlett tells us more about clinical trials,the different types of trials, reasons for participating and trial protocols.
- Why participate in a clinical trial?
Breast cancer survivor Raewyn Calvert has been involved in a cinical trial and talks about reasons to participate in breast cancer research.
- Breast Cancer Trials
Breast Cancer Trials is a group of world-leading breast cancer doctors and researchers based in Australia and New Zealand. The group has been conducting clinical trials research for the treatment and prevention of breast cancer in Australia and New Zealand for 40 years. Find out more about some of the ground-breaking outcomes of their research.
Current Clinical Trials
The STARS Trial (recruiting)
This clinical trial compares the order of treatments for women who have oestrogen and/or progesterone receptor positive breast cancer and need both radiation treatment and hormone medication (anastrozole) to control the breast cancer following surgery. In New Zealand the trial is open in Auckland, Palmerston North and Christchurch.
The trial will investigate using the drug Pembrolizumab (Keytruda) as Monotherapy (treatment by a single drug) in patients with metastatic Triple Negative Breast Cancer.
POSNOC - POsitive Sentinel NOde: adjuvant therapy alone versus adjuvant therapy plus Clearance or axillary radiotherapy. A randomised controlled trial of axillary treatment in women with early stage breast cancer who have metastases in one or two sentinel nodes.
This is a randomised phase III trial of adjuvant radiation therapy versus observation following breast conserving surgery and endocrine therapy in patients with molecularly characterised luminal A early breast cancer. The purpose of this study is to see whether a specialised laboratory test (Prosigna (PAM50) Assay) of breast cancer tissue can be used to choose women who can safely avoid radiation therapy because there is a low risk of the cancer coming back.
This phase two, pragmatic, randomised controlled trial will compare lymph node grafting, in addition to standard lymphoedema therapy; against standard lymphoedema therapy alone. Study participants will be those with residual stage one to two breast-cancer related lymphoedema, despite initial treatment with standard lymphoedema therapy.
This is a randomised, open label, Phase III Trial to evaluate the efficacy and safety of Palbociclib + Anti-HER2 Therapy + Endocrine Therapy vs. Anti-HER2 Therapy + Endocrine Therapy after induction treatment for Hormone Receptor Positive (HR+)/HER2-Positive metastatic breast Cancer. It is open to people diagnosed with hormone receptor (HR) positive, Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2 (HER-2) positive metastatic breast cancer.
QUE Oncology is conducting Phase II trials at several sites in New Zealand for its novel non-hormonal therapy for women with breast cancer suffering hot flushes and night sweats. After a breast cancer diagnosis, women are routinely prescribed drugs such as tamoxifen or aromatase inhibitors (known as endocrine therapy) for up to 10 years post-diagnosis. These drugs are known to reduce the recurrence of breast cancer by reducing or blocking the action of estrogen, a hormone known to stimulate the growth of breast cancer. However, the most common side-effect of reducing estrogen is an increased likelihood of hot flushes and night sweats. These symptoms can severely impact a woman's quality of life and often cause them to stop taking their breast cancer treatment. QUE Oncology is looking to develop a therapy to address these symptoms. Find out more about the trial here.
The PantoCIN trial will test the ability of a cheap, widely available drug to prevent two of chemotherapy's most unpleasant side-effects: delayed nausea and vomiting. These can occur after breast cancer chemotherapy, affecting the quality of life. A potential cause of these delayed side effects is that the chemotherapy may cause stomach irritation. Pantoprazole is commonly used to treat stomach irritation by reducing stomach acid, which may, in turn, improve nausea and/or vomiting. This study will explore whether this medication can help prevent these side effects from chemotherapy for early breast cancer. The trial is open in a number of centres around New Zealand. Find out more.
A randomised, open label, Phase 3 study of Abemaciclib combined with standard adjuvant endocrine therapy alone in patients with high risk, node positive, early stage, hormone receptor positive, HER2 negative breast cancer. The aim of this study, MonarchE, is to evaluate whether the combination of Abemaciclib plus standard adjuvant endocrine therapy improves outcomes in participants with a certain type of breast cancer compared to adjuvant endocrine therapy alone.
The SORBET trial (closed and in follow-up)
This clinical trial looks at the possibility of treating women with Triple Negative Breast Cancer with Tamoxifen.
The Marianne Trial (closed and in follow-up)
An international trial which will involve up to 1092 patients with HER2-positive breast cancer. This study aims to evaluate the efficacy and safety of using a new drug known T-DM1. This trial is only open to women in Waikato and Auckland. You can find out more about research into TDM-1 here.
The SNAC-2 Trial (closed and in follow-up)
This trial compares two operations for detecting cancer cells in the lymph nodes of women with early breast cancer - sentinal node biopsy versus auxillary clearance. It is open to women in the North Shore, Waikato, Christchurch, Palmerston North and Tauranga.
The Trog Trial (closed and in follow-up)
This trial is for women who have ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) of the breast and aims to see whether improvements can be made to radiation treatment by giving women an extra treatment dose. It is available to women in Waikato, Christchurch and Auckland.
Will an adapted Mediterranean diet (BC-MED) improve health in breast cancer survivors? (closed and in follow-up)
This trial will investigate whether an adapted Mediterranean diet improves health outcomes for women who have been treated for early stage breast cancer. The study investigators aim to test whether a Mediterranean diet helps those who’ve been treated for breast cancer to lose weight, reduce the symptoms of metabolic syndrome and lower inflammation levels in order to improve overall health.