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 of 40,000 deaths every year in the U.S.

Professional Football Player DeAngelo Williams joins the MBC Alliance's efforts in memory of his mother Sandra Hill who passed away
from metastatic breast cancer in May 2014

/ PR Newswire / — 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 andpatient needs, as well as information and services.

Metastatic #BreastCancer Alliance releases report looking @ research & funding gaps

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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

“My mother, Sandra Hill, was the definition of strength and hope.  She was determined to live, but her cancer returned, six years after her initial therapy, as metastatic breast cancer that had spread to her liver. I am proud to support the MBC Alliance in her honor to advocate for better outcomes and provide hope for other women diagnosed with this disease,” said DeAngelo Williams.  “It is my goal to shed more light on this disease in the hopes that more funding will be designated to help metastatic patients live longer with a better quality of life.”

About Metastatic Breast Cancer

  • Metastatic Breast Cancer, also referred to as Stage IV, currently has no cure and treatment is life-long, with patients switching from one treatment to the next after each fails to control the cancer.
  • October 13 was Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day, which recognizes patients who are often forgotten and may feel isolated during October.


About the Metastatic Breast Cancer Alliance
The Metastatic Breast Cancer Alliance was formed by 15 groups in October 2013 and today has grown to 29 of the leading cancer charities, advocacy groups and pharmaceutical industry partners.   The Alliance vision is to transform and improve the lives of women and men living with metastatic breast cancer.  More information about the MBC Alliance is available at

About the Avon Foundation for Women and the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade
The Avon Breast Cancer Crusade, which launched in 1992 and is led by the U.S.-based Avon Foundation for Women, has placed Avon and the Avon Foundation for Women at the forefront of the fight against breast cancer; today, Avon is the leading corporate supporter of the cause globally. Avon breast cancer programs in more than 50 countries have donated more than $815 million for research and advancing access to care, regardless of a person’s ability to pay. Avon awards funding to beneficiaries ranging from leading cancer centers to community-based grassroots breast health programs to support breast cancer research and access to care. The Crusade has enabled more than 18 million women globally to receive free mammograms and breast cancer screenings, educated more than 145 million women about breast cancer, and funded promising research into the causes of breast cancer and ways to prevent the disease. The Avon Foundation raises funds for the Crusade through the sale of Avon “Pink Ribbon” products, and through events such as the U.S. Avon Walk for Breast Cancer series, which is the Avon Foundation’s largest fund-raising event. Visit for more information.

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