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Cancer and Metastasis Reviews

, Volume 35, Issue 4, pp 495–514 | Cite as

Current challenges of metastatic breast cancer

  • Bora Lim
  • Gabriel N. HortobagyiEmail author
Article

Abstract

Metastasis is one of the most characteristic yet problematic behaviors of cancer cells. Stage IV breast cancer accounts for a large portion of breast cancer-related morbidity and mortality. Despite early detection and improvement in survival owing to advancements in biomedical research and overall improvement of the health system, 6–10% of patients present with stage IV disease in the developed world, with a higher incidence noted elsewhere. Despite advances in biomedical research into cancer, up to 70–80% of patients with stage IV breast cancer die of cancer in 5 years, a disproportionally higher mortality compared with non-metastatic breast cancer. In this article, we review the incidence, survival, heterogeneity, current practice, and challenges in stage IV breast cancer, and we finish by noting new research initiatives to improve poor survival and suggesting future directions. By doing so, we hope to set the basis of future directions for both treating physicians and translational researchers to relieve the suffering of patients with stage IV breast cancer and improve the survival of patients with this dismal disease.

Keywords

Metastasis SEER data Breast cancer 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Breast Medical OncologyThe University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer CenterHoustonUSA

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