• Metastatic Breast Cancer Alliance landmark report finds MBC research underfunded and identifies opportunities to close gaps for people living with metastatic breast cancer

    Metastatic breast cancer (MBC) is cancer that originated in the breast but has spread to other parts of the body, such as liver, lung, bones and brain. MBC is the cause 40,000 deaths every year in the U.S.

    New York, NY – October 14, 2014 – On National Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) Awareness Day, October 13, the MBC Alliance revealed the results of their Landscape Report, Changing the Landscape for People Living with Metastatic Breast Cancer. The MBC Alliance, representing 29 cancer organizations, releases the report on its one-year anniversary after a comprehensive year-long analysis of current MBC research and patient needs, as well as information and services.

     While MBC claims the lives of 40,000 women and men in America every year and 20-30% of those diagnosed with early stage breast cancer will go on to develop recurrent, metastatic disease, awareness remains low and only 7.1% of breast cancer research investments over the last dozen years were focused on MBC. Changing the Landscape analyzed 224 clinical trials, 2281 funded research grants, 7900 MBC patient responses to surveys and 175 literature articles on quality of life and epidemiological studies.

     “Changing the Landscape is the most comprehensive analysis on MBC research, information and services of its kind and the results highlight that we need to do better for those living with MBC,” stated Marc Hurlbert, PhD, Executive Director, Avon Foundation for Women. “We’re hopeful this report provides a roadmap for how members of our MBC Alliance and other organizations can band together to better serve people living with MBC and identify ways to accelerate research to develop new treatments.”

     Key findings of the Changing the Landscape report include:

    • Research: More funds need to be directed to MBC-focused research. $1.0B invested since 2000 in research grants specifically focused on MBC was identified, or only 7%, of the $15-billion invested in breast cancer research grants included in our study. The majority focused on understanding the key processes of metastasis.
    • Clinical trials: 169 clinical trials testing ‘targeted’ therapies for MBC were identified, addressing 7 common traits shared by all cancers. Opportunities exist to reduce barriers to patient participation in trials and to update the design of trials to address endpoints important for MBC. 
    • Quality of Life: More needs to be done to meet the needs of patients and families. Patients with metastatic breast cancer have unique emotional, physical and psychosocial needs, many of which are unmet by health care providers and support organizations. There is limited quality of life research conducted on the needs of minority or poor populations living with MBC.
    • Patient education and support services: MBC Alliance members provide significant support and information to people living with MBC. However, opportunities exist to make information about MBC across agencies more consistent and easily understood, to develop metrics that measure the reach and impact of programs and services, and to reach into underserved communities regardless of socioeconomic status, race, gender, culture or geography.
    • Epidemiology: Improving care requires documenting the number of MBC patients, how long they live, and how well they respond to treatments. Population-based data are needed on early breast cancer patients who experience a recurrence after early stage diagnosis.

    The full landscape report can be found at http://www.mbcalliance.org/