EORTC took the lead in coordinating the International Male Breast Cancer Programme, a clinical trial, being conducted simultaneously in Europe, the US and South America.
Male breast cancer is a rare patient population that accounts for 1% of all breast cancers. Most cases are detected in men between the age of 60 and 70 and usually in more advanced stages due to late diagnosis.
EORTC, the Breast International Group (BIG) and its US counterpart the North American Breast Cancer Group (NABCG), joined efforts to better understand the biology and evolution of male breast cancer with the hope to improve treatments of patients affected by this rare disease in the future.
Breast cancer is about 100 times less common among men than among women. Because of the rarity of the disease, men are usually excluded from clinical trials, and doctors often extrapolate treatment from studies applied to women.
With over 550 male breast cancer patients recruited in only 30 months, including 75% in Europe, 20% in the US and 5% in other countries, the investigators showed that, through an international collaborative effort, they were able to set up a well-structured and functional research network ready to run a clinical trial in this rare population.