Breast cancer research
Resilience and the strengths of the BIG network
The Breast International Group
(BIG) is an
international not-for-profit organisation founded
20 years ago by Professors Martine
Piccart and Aron
Goldhirsch. It now represents the largest global network of academic
research groups dedicated to finding better treatments and cures for breast
mission is to facilitate and accelerate breast cancer research at an
international level. BIG thinks globally and acts locally, helping breast
cancer patients from all over the world.
raise funds and help finance clinical trials and research programmes
initiated by BIG that have no commercial interest but are crucial for
± 97 000
have participated in BIG trials.
Patients are at the heart of BIG’s
academic research groups make up the largest international network dedicated solely to breast cancer research
patient-centred clinical trials and research programmes are run under the BIG umbrella at any one time
breast cancer specialists within the BIG network
Together we will cure breast cancer
BIG’s mission is to facilitate and accelerate breast cancer research at the international level.
Together we will find a cure for breast cancer through global research and collaboration.
GLOBAL AND LOCAL
BIG is the largest global network of breast cancer research groups and their affiliated experts. Their work benefits patients locally.
We have been recognised for over 20 years to generate credible scientific results and safeguard patients’ interests.
Our research changes practice in the treatment of women and men with breast cancer.
We have a real impact on patients’ lives.
Message from the Chair
“Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and
all the challenges it posed, members of the BIG network continued their efforts
to advance breast cancer research.
Conducting large international
trials not only requires resilience and persistence at every stage – from
planning to completion –, it also entails tremendous effort to
secure the necessary funding.”
Professor David Cameron
“The most common cancer in the
world, breast cancer, affects both women and men. Much progress has already
been made in improving patients’ quality of life and their chances of survival.
Nonetheless, finding a cure is still one of the greatest challenges facing
researchers everywhere. The task has not been helped by the constraints of
COVID-19. However, BIG’s innovative researchers have continued their work,
undaunted, throughout the pandemic. It is crucial, therefore, that we support
BIG in its efforts to find a cure and to give hope to the countless women, men
and families affected by this disease.”
Her Majesty the Queen of the Belgians
Message from the
Breast cancer research
Despite the sudden and overwhelming
COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on their daily lives and on research
activities, doctors from BIG member groups around the world
demonstrated admirable resilience and strength to continue to serve patients’
advance breast cancer research.
the BIG network addressed the challenges caused by COVID-19.
Research during covid
Other activities of
BIG member groups
BIG’s Research in 2020
Long term follow-up results impacting patients' lives
A practice-changing study: sparing patients from chemotherapy when not necessary
More than 8,000 patients followed-up for
about 10 years
A prevention study: anastrozole reduces
breast cancer occurrence by 49%
Other milestones and encouraging
AURORA and POSITIVE reached target recruitment. DCIS, PYTHIA and PALLAS delivered their first results.
Metastatic Breast Cancer GPS
(Scientific name : AURORA)
The Metastatic Breast Cancer GPS is
an innovative, international research programme
set up to improve our understanding of metastatic breast cancer, to identify
breakdowns (genetic aberrations) and to map the routes that cancer cells take
to invade other organs.
At a glance :
- Over 1,000 women & men with metastatic breast cancer involved
blood and tumour tissue samples to be collected
411 genes to be analysed in primary breast cancer & metastatic tumours
12 Countries +60 hospital
Time For Baby
(Scientific name: POSITIVE)
BIG time for baby aims to evaluate
whether it is safe for women to interrupt their endocrine therapy to try to
conceive after breast cancer.
BIG time for baby at a glance :
246 healthy babies born to date
name : EXPERT)
BIG Radio Tuning aims to tailor the
use of radiotherapy according to the risk of cancer relapse for each patient,
ultimately hoping to identify those patients who can safely avoid this
The results of this study could
influence how 2 in 5 women with breast cancer are treated in the future.
BIG Radio Tuning at a glance:
1,170 women and men
50 gene test
2 in 5 women could be spared radiotherapy in the future
we are BIG
against breast cancer
€848 098 were raised for BIG’s research in 2020: Thank you!
are many areas of research that hold great
promise for patients but have no particular interest for commercial partners.
possible that many patients could be cured or otherwise benefit from a
“lighter” exposure to traditional cancer treatments, for example by reducing
the duration of drugs or radiation.
studies hold tremendous potential for patients and
promise long-term gains for society, in
all regions of the world.
need your help to make it happen.
time goes by, as an ambassador, you become increasingly aware of the
exceptional impact of BIG's work on the world around us. The progress made in
recent years has been extraordinary, bringing so much hope in the face of what
remains one of the most devastating cancers. I am very proud and happy to be
able to make a modest contribution to BIG.”
— Nathalie de Merode
Between 2012 and 2020,
BIG received over
€ 132 696 663*
* funding for study collaborations involving pharmaceutical and other partners, as well as from the philanthropic work of BIG against breast cancer
was spent directly on research conducted under the BIG umbrella, making a huge difference in the lives of women and men with breast cancer
You are part of the solution. You can support BIG's research in different ways
FOUNDATIONS SUPPORTING BIG
that thought BIG in 2020