Phase I Cancer Trials and Palliative Care: Antagonism, Irrelevance, or Synergy?

J. Brian Cassel, Egidio Del Fabbro, Tobias Arkenau, Irene J. Higginson, Samia Hurst, Lynn Jansen, Andrew Poklepovic, Annette Rid, Jordi Rodón, Florian Strasser, Franklin G. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Scopus citations


This article synthesizes the presentations and conclusions of an international symposium on Phase 1 oncology trials, palliative care, and ethics held in 2014. The purpose of the symposium was to discuss the intersection of three independent trends that unfolded in the past decade. First, large-scale reviews of hundreds of Phase I trials have indicated there is a relatively low risk of serious harm and some prospect of clinical benefit that can be meaningful to patients. Second, changes in the design and analysis of Phase I trials, the introduction of “targeted” investigational agents that are generally less toxic, and an increase in Phase I trials that combine two or more agents in a novel way have changed the conduct of these trials and decreased fears and apprehensions about participation. Third, the field of palliative care in cancer has expanded greatly, offering symptom management to late-stage cancer patients, and demonstrated that it is not mutually exclusive with disease-targeted therapies or clinical research. Opportunities for collaboration and further research at the intersection of Phase 1 oncology trials and palliative care are highlighted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)437-445
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Pain and Symptom Management
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016



  • cancer
  • end-of-life care
  • ethics
  • informed consent
  • Palliative care
  • Phase I clinical trials

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

Cite this

Cassel, J. B., Del Fabbro, E., Arkenau, T., Higginson, I. J., Hurst, S., Jansen, L., Poklepovic, A., Rid, A., Rodón, J., Strasser, F., & Miller, F. G. (2016). Phase I Cancer Trials and Palliative Care: Antagonism, Irrelevance, or Synergy? Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 52(3), 437-445.