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The Voice of People With Breast Cancer


Our Voices Blog

Top 10 priorities for metastatic breast cancer research

It’s powerful what happens when patients, caregivers, and clinicians come together to look at research priorities; a broad list of questions that encompasses a variety of viewpoints emerges.

CBCN has had the pleasure of participating as a partner in the JLA Metastatic Breast Cancer Priority Setting Partnership to develop a list of 10 research questions to prioritize metastatic breast cancer research.  This project received feedback from over 500 patients, caregivers, and clinicians with input on what these research priorities should be. In April, representatives from each of these groups came together in-person to look at the top 27 questions and narrow it down to 10.

The discussions from these diverse stakeholders brought together a wide variety of experiences and perspectives to help inform what has emerged as the final 10 questions. It was an incredible process to be involved in, and CBCN is pleased to share this list that has a broad range of research that aims to address the needs of people living with metastatic breast cancer, detecting it earlier for people who will be diagnosed in the future, and hopefully one day stopping breast cancer from metastasizing.

Here’s the final list of research priorities:

  1. What biomarkers or intrinsic features of the tumour can be used to identify response to specific treatments and dosing schedules?
  2. What is the role of immunotherapy for metastatic breast cancer?
  3. How can treatment resistance be delayed, and minimized?
  4. What causes (i.e. cellular, genomic changes) breast cancer cells to metastasize, and what changes allow them to penetrate the blood-brain barrier?
  5. What is the right sequence of therapy in metastatic breast cancer?
  6. Does local therapy (radiation or surgery to sites of metastatic disease) improve survival outcomes in metastatic breast cancer?
  7. Is continuous treatment with systemic therapy (including HER2-targeted therapy and chemotherapy) better than intermittent treatment?
  8. Does early palliative care improve outcomes for metastatic breast cancer patients?
  9. What are the best methods of education for patients around treatment options and decision making that can lead to improved patient outcomes?
  10. Can safer, more accurate methods, including blood tests of detecting spread of disease (including following curative intent treatment) be developed?

You can visit to learn more about the Metastatic Breast Cancer Priority Setting Partnership.