Landscape Analysis

Changing the Landscape for People Living with Metastatic Breast Cancer

Learn more and get involved with our collaborative projects to educate stakeholders, advance research, and connect people to resources that can improve outcomes.

Assessing the Needs of People Living With MBC

Upon our founding in 2013, one of the Alliance’s first task was a comprehensive analysis of the state of metastatic breast cancer research, clinical trials, quality of life, patient needs, and available information and services. Findings were released in a landscape report in October 2014, Changing the Landscape for People Living with Metastatic Breast Cancer, which identified opportunities to close gaps for people living with MBC. The report helped the Alliance choose areas of focus that continue to guide its work today.

Executive Summary

As its first initiative, the Alliance undertook a landscape analysis to assess gaps, duplication, and opportunities in MBC research, patient information and support services, and public awareness to capitalize on identified opportunities, and identify the ways Alliance members could work together to meet the unique needs of those living with MBC.

MBC Scientific Research

More funds need to be directed to MBC research. MBC-focused research made up only 7% of the $15-billion invested in breast cancer research from 2000 to 2013 by the major governmental and nonprofit funders from North America and the United Kingdom. Specific scientific areas are understudied. The field of MBC research is relatively small. 169 clinical trials testing ‘targeted’ therapies for metastatic breast cancer were identified, addressing 7 common traits shared by all cancers. Opportunities exist to reduce barriers to patient participation in trials and to update trial design to address endpoints important for metastatic breast cancer.

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 the disease.

Information & Support Services

Alliance members provide significant support and information to people living with metastatic breast cancer. However, opportunities exist to make information about the disease 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.


Improving care requires documenting the number of metastatic breast cancer 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.

Awareness & Action

A greater understanding of what MBC is and how it differs from early-stage breast cancer is needed among patients, their families, healthcare providers, researchers and the public.