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Metastatic Breast Cancer Alliance Releases Landscape Analysis of Metastatic Disease

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The Metastatic Breast Cancer Alliance (MBCA) has released a new report on the state of metastatic breast cancer. MBCA is made up of 29 breast cancer advocacy groups, including

The report was released on Oct. 13, 2014. Read the executive summary of “Changing the Landscape for People Living with Metastatic Breast Cancer.”

Metastatic breast cancer is breast cancer that has spread to parts of the body away from the breast, such as the bones or liver. Metastatic breast cancer is stage IV breast cancer.

The report looks at five areas:

  • scientific research on metastatic breast cancer
  • quality of life of people with metastatic breast cancer, as well as their families and caregivers
  • information and support services offered by MBCA members
  • epidemiology of metastatic breast cancer
  • public awareness of metastatic breast cancer

In this Research News story, we summarize the key findings on metastatic breast cancer research in the report.

According to the report, research on metastatic breast cancer accounted for only 7% of the $15 billion spent on breast cancer research from 2000 to 2013 by major government and nonprofit funders in North America and the United Kingdom. More money needs to be spent on metastatic breast cancer research.

Specific recommendations are:

  • Most research on metastatic breast cancer focuses on the cancer growing at parts of the body away from the breast. Not much research is being done on how the cancer cells invade the blood or lymph vessels and then move through them to other organs. It’s not clear why these research gaps exist. More research is needed on the biology of metastasis.
  • Most funding for metastatic breast cancer research focuses on basic research. More money needs to be spent on metastatic breast cancer control, outcomes, and survivorship.
  • Most research on metastatic breast cancer uses tissue taken from early-stage primary breast cancers, not metastatic cancers. Also, the endpoints of many studies, such as how much a tumor has shrunk, may not be relevant to metastasis.
  • More research is needed to understand all the steps of metastasis so new treatments can be developed for all the different types of metastatic breast cancer. This research would also help doctors understand how to improve quality of life for people diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, as well as how to lengthen their lives.
  • Many clinical trials are done by single investigators at single institutions. To speed up research on metastatic breast cancer, multi-investigator, multi-institution trials must be done.

For more information on metastatic breast cancer, visit the Recurrent and Metastatic Breast Cancer pages.

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