Clinical Study of ‘Extreme’ Breast Cancer Survivors Begins

In an effort to identify factors leading to long-term survival of metastatic breast cancer, Mark Burkard, MD, PhD, associate professor, Hematology, Medical Oncology and Palliative Care, is launching an international study of patients who have survived diagnoses of metastatic breast cancer for decades.

“In most cases people live for maybe a few years,” said Dr. Burkard. “When we’re finding people who live decades, that’s rather unusual and we’d like to know why.”

Dr. Burkard wrote an editorial for Oncology Times about the study, which so far has identified 53 individuals with metastatic breast cancer who have survived more than 10 years after initial diagnosis.

Fifteen of the long-term survivors have enrolled in the study. Researchers will perform genome analyses of tumor and blood and examine tissue samples for unusual cancer features.

The investigation is now extending, explains Dr. Burkard. “Many physicians have extreme survivors with metastatic breast cancer in their practice. We invite these physicians to participate by notifying their patients of this project,” he said.

Participation is initiated by survivors who choose to visit the study website and select “Participate Now.”

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