Each clinical trial has its own guidelines on who can participate as part of the study protocol. These guidelines are called eligibility criteria and describe characteristics that must be shared by all participants so they can join the clinical trial. They may include age, gender, medical history and type and stage of cancer.
Enrolling participants with similar characteristics ensures that the results will be due to what is under study and not other factors. In this way, eligibility criteria help researchers achieve accurate and meaningful results.
These criteria also make certain that people who could be made worse by participating in the study are not exposed to the risk.
Common eligibility criteria for a clinical trial include:
- Having a certain type and stage of cancer
- Treatment history
- Age range
- Other health conditions