© 2020 The Author(s) For upcoming nuclear fusion energy reactors, like the China Fusion Engineering Test Reactor (CFETR) and EU-DEMO, the superconducting Cable-In-Conduit Conductors (CICC) are in the design phase, and the operating conditions like electromagnetic forces can be higher than in previous devices like ITER. The prototype conductors for the Central Solenoid (CS) coils in the CFETR, for example, are designed to produce a peak field of 19.9 T and are expected to be made of high current density Nb3Sn strands. Investigations are also ongoing on the application of bismuth strontium calcium copper oxide (BSCCO) and MgB2 strands for CICCs in fusion reactors. The latter material, MgB2, could be applied for superconductors subjected to lower magnetic fields, such as Poloidal Field coils, Correction Coils, and Feeders. The performance of all these strands is sensitive to strain, and the mechanical strength of the brittle filaments is relatively weak. This requires a thorough analysis of the cable pattern in terms of the mechanical support of the strands along their length in combination with the minimization of the interstrand coupling currents and strand indentation. As an initial step to finding the most appropriate cable pattern for CICCs, three prototype CICCs made of ITER type Nb3Sn strands with significantly different cable twist patterns are tested experimentally for AC coupling loss, interstrand contact resistance, and strand indentation. The three cabling patterns referred to as the Twente, CWS (copper wound superconducting strand), and CFETR-CSMC (CFETR Central Solenoid Model Coil) design. The numerical code JackPot ACDC developed at the University of Twente is used to analyze the interstrand coupling loss and contact resistance. The new ASIPP (Institute of Plasma Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences) triplet modified CWS design is aimed at reducing strand pinching during cabling, which causes degradation of transport properties during compaction and cyclic loading. The Twente design has the same objective but also aims at reducing the coupling loss while maximizing the mechanical lateral support for the strands by making the twist pitch ratio of the sequential cabling stages close to one. The CFETR-CSMC, taken as a reference for comparison, has cable a pattern mostly similar to the ITER CS cable design.