Male breast cancer is a rare disease. Of all cancers diagnosed in males, breast cancer accounts for less than one percent, and male breast cancer also accounts for less than one percent of the total of all breast cancer diagnoses. Although rare, male breast cancer is an extremely deadly disease. There were an estimated 2,240 new cases of and 410 deaths from male breast cancer in the United States in 2013.
Dr. Fatima Cardoso of the Champalimaud Cancer Center in Lisbon and co-coordinator of this study which will be conducted in both Europe and in the United States says “Currently, this disease is not well understood, and an optimal treatment for this disease is not known but is certainly needed. A collaborative research strategy offers a practical approach to learn more about this rare yet deadly form of cancer.”
The EORTC, Breast International Group, North American Breast Cancer Groups , Borstkanker Onderzoeksgroup Nederland, Ireland Cooperative Oncology Research Group, Schweizerisches Arbeitsgemeinschaft Klin. Krebsforschung, and Swedish Association of Breast Oncologists have joined forces to launch an International Program on Male Breast Cancer, EORTC trial 10085 Male BC.
Dr. Sharon Hermes Giordano of the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and co-coordinator of this study says, “The first part of this Program consists of a retrospective analysis of a large series of men previously diagnosed with breast cancer over the past twenty years. The data being gathered includes patient characteristics, tumor features, treatment and outcomes. Tumor specimens (paraffin-embedded) from these patients are being collected and centrally analyzed in Europe at the University of Edinburgh Cancer Research Center at the Western General and in the United States at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. By analyzing these samples, we hope to understand the biological characteristics of this disease and identify important potential prognostic and predictive markers.”
Speaking from a patient’s perspective, Oliver Bogler of the MD Anderson Cancer Center points out “As a man with breast cancer and care-giver to my wife when she had breast cancer, I have seen firsthand that the identical treatment we received is effective. But as a cancer biologist I cannot help but think that more research on the differences is also needed. The groundbreaking work of Dr. Cardoso, Dr. Giordano and their colleagues around the world will provide important insights to this question.” (See also malebreastcancerblog.org)
The retrospective part of EORTC 10085 Male BC is being conducted in nine countries: Belgium, Poland, Republic of Ireland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, the United States, and the United Kingdom. This study is coordinated by the EORTC Breast Cancer Group in collaboration with Borstkanker Onderzoeksgroup Nederland, All Ireland Cooperative Oncology Research Group, Schweizerisches Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Klinische Krebsforschung, and the Swedish Association of Breast Oncologists. With about 1700 male breast cancer cases collected, Male BC will represent the largest series of patients with this disease that has ever been studied.
The second part of this Program, which is now open, is a prospective international registry of all male breast cancer patients treated at the participating institutions for a period of 30 months with collection of clinical data. It will evaluate the number of patients it is feasible to recruit for a future clinical trial; describe patterns of care; and assess sample collection rate. An optional Quality of Life sub study is also being planned and will use the EORTC QLQ-30 questionaire and items from the BR-23 and PR-25 questionaires. This program has generated worldwide interest, and additional countries and academic groups are expected to join this international effort.
The EORTC 10085 Male BC intergroup study is a fully academic study supported by The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, The EORTC Breast Cancer Group, The Dutch Pink Ribbon, the European Breast Cancer Conference council, and the Breast Cancer Working Group.
For more information concerning the EORTC 10085 – Male BC intergroup study please contact: www.eortc.org/contact
John Bean, PhD
EORTC, Medical Science Writer