15 April 2024

A diagnosis of prostate cancer presents a choice of treatment options at every stage along the journey. No two prostate cancers are the same, and treatments vary for everyone. Treatment options will be based on a range of factors, such as age, general health, and the nature of the cancer.

Medical research into the use of medications and new therapies for the treatment of prostate cancer is essential in finding new and improved ways of treating and potentially curing prostate cancer. Clinical trials are required to determine the harms and benefits of any emerging treatment. They help improve best outcomes for patients.

At present only 6% of patients undergoing treatment for all cancers are part of a trial. 

Always consider asking your specialists and treating team if there is a clinical trial available when a decision regarding treatment options is required.

Trial groups in Australia

The main group in Australia performing clinical trials in Prostate Cancer is the Australian and New Zealand Urogenital and Prostate Cancer Trials Group (ANZUP). Your oncologist can best advise you about what might be available and suitable for you.

To read more about these current clinical trials, visit Prostate Cancer Trials – ANZUP

The Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR) is an online registry of clinical trials being undertaken in Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere. This is a list of all public trials being conducted. Search Prostate cancer and you will see the trials listed here ANZCTR

The Australian Cancer Trials website is managed by Cancer Australia: Welcome to Australian Cancer Trials

Clinical Trial development:

It may be helpful to understand some terminology when reading information about clinical trials.

All research begins with a question and there are different phase looking to answer these questions in different ways.

Phase I – Determines if a new treatment is safe and looks the best way of providing the treatment.  Usually involves less than 100 people.

Phase II - Study aim is to determine the effectiveness or efficiency of a treatment on a particular disease (eg prostate cancer), to establish if the cancer responds to the new treatment.

Phase III – Tests if a new treatment is better than a standard treatment. These are often randomized studies, include many people, and may be across several centres in a variety of countries.

Phase IV – Performed after the medication or therapy has been approved or treatment commenced.

Randomized trials means that the people that participate are put into one of the treatment groups at random.

Some experimental treatments can include a ‘control’ arm which may be placebo. The patient and clinician are usually not aware at the time of the trial. This information is often shared with the results and outcomes of the trial.

People can feel they are a ‘guinea pig’ but clinical trials do provide access to new and emerging treatments that people would otherwise not be able to access or afford.  

Clinical Trial access:

Each clinical trial provides documentation to outline details to consumers prior to enrolment. Trial Documents include the following:

  • eligibility, inclusion, and exclusion criteria that will control the patient population that's going to be on the trial
  • outline and details of any interventions such as any drug dosages and what to do in the event of side effects
  • any investigative imaging and pathology tests required for those undergoing the trial and the timing of these
  • suggested visits or telehealth appointments required by participants with the trial centre. Trial centres are often located in a hospital or clinic setting
  • a Consent form to read and sign for participants. Informed consent provides permission. This can be withdrawn at any time during the trial. If there are concerns, always clarify with staff members involved in the trial.
  • Rural access – some research studies require the individual to be well enough to travel to the trial centre. Others may have Telehealth options. Travel costs can be covered as part of the inclusion criteria.


Clinical trials can be inhouse and run by the individual hospital or university. These trials often have limited funds with less financial support.

Pharmaceutical funded trials are often better resourced and, in many situations, can offer reimbursement of travel and accommodation costs.

Treatments within clinical trials are free. Any additional tests such as blood tests and scans included in trials are free.

Appointments with the study investigators which can include doctors are free.

Patient Assisted Travel Schemes (PATS) are available in all states and territories to help patients in rural and remote Australia with the costs of travel for specialist treatment. This may be approved for clinical trial access.

Read about PATS support in your state or territory:

ACT:  Travelling to and out of Canberra for treatment - Canberra Health Services (act.gov.au)

Northern Territory: Patient Assistance Travel Scheme | NT.GOV.AU

NSW: IPTAAS (nsw.gov.au)

Queensland: The Patient Travel Subsidy Scheme | Health and wellbeing | Queensland Government (www.qld.gov.au)

South Australia: Home | Patient Assistant Transport Scheme | SA Health (pats.sa.gov.au)

Tasmania: PTAS | Tasmanian Department of Health

Victoria: Victorian Patient Transport Assistance Scheme (VPTAS) (health.vic.gov.au)

WA: Assistance with travel costs to receive medical care (healthywa.wa.gov.au) and interstate Interstate Patient Travel Scheme (IPTS) (healthywa.wa.gov.au)

Trial Safety

Participants will be screened with specific investigations to ensure individual safety and level of health.

Exclusion criteria can include:

  • abnormal blood tests
  • other medical conditions
  • recent surgeries
  • other medications the participant is prescribed
  • reduced general fitness and some cancer related symptoms
  • unable to undergo the additional treatments required

Dedicated nursing and study group staff are available to assist in the support of those considering trial involvement and for those that enroll. Always ask for an Interpreter if required.

The Hospital or study setting have Ethics committees that oversee Research, Governance and Authority to ensure Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) approval prior to any clinical trial being introduced and performed within each setting.

The Ethics committee ensures the research is performed ethically and considers the risks to individuals and communities, as well as the researchers themselves.

With these options in mind, please remember that you are not alone. For further information about clinical trials or to talk further with a nurse about prostate cancer information and support, the PCFA Specialist Telenursing Service can be contacted on 1800 22 00 99.