Report: metastatic breast cancer research underfunded
While metastatic breast cancer (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, according to MBC Alliance’s report Changing the Landscape for People Living with Metastatic Breast Cancer.
The MBC Alliance, a New York-based organization representing 29 cancer organizations, released the report after a comprehensive year-long analysis of current MBC research and patient needs, as well as information and services. Changing the Landscape analyzed 224 clinical trials, 2,281 funded research grants, 7,900 MBC patient responses to surveys and 175 literature articles on quality of life and epidemiological studies.
The report identified 169 clinical trials testing “targeted” therapies for MBC, addressing seven 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.
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.
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.