Thanks to the generous and exclusive support of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, BIG and the NCI National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN) – the latter a network of major US and Canadian-based research groups supported by the US National Cancer Institute (NCI) – have been meeting annually and in topic-specific working groups since 2005.


Together they identify difficult aspects of breast cancer research, focus on research areas not supported by the pharmaceutical industry, and collaborate to resolve common problems.

Members of this collaborative effort are currently investing their expertise to improve the knowledge about emerging aspects of breast cancer management such as:

  1. immunotherapy and its biological and clinical aspects,
  2. precision medicine to tailor treatment to the specific needs of different breast cancer populations (e.g. treatment de-escalation in low risk HER2+ breast cancer).


Fighting breast cancer around the globe - Canada & the BIG-NCTN collaboration

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Together, BIG and NCTN strive to improve the care and cure rates of patients with breast cancer through international collaboration.



  • "Male breast cancer precursor lesions: analysis of the EORTC 10085/TBCRC/BIG/NABCG International Male Breast Cancer Program" in Modern Pathology (2017) by Doebar SC, Slaets L, Cardoso F, Giordano SH, Bartlett JM, Tryfonidis K, Dijkstra NH, Schröder CP, van Asperen CJ, Linderholm B, Benstead K, Dinjens WN, van Marion R, van Diest PJ, Martens JW, van Deurzen CH

  • "Pathological characterisation of male breast cancer: Results of the EORTC 10085/TBCRC/BIG/NABCG International Male Breast Cancer Program" in the European Journal of Cancer (2017) by Vermeulen MA, Slaets L, Cardoso F, Giordano SH, Tryfonidis K, van Diest PJ, Dijkstra NH, Schröder CP, van Asperen CJ, Linderholm B, Benstead K, Foekens R, Martens JWM, Bartlett JMS, van Deurzen CHM.

  • “Recommendations for standardized pathological characterization of residual disease for neoadjuvant clinical trials of breast cancer by the BIG-NABCG collaboration” in Annals of Oncology (2015) by Bossuyt V, Provenzano E, Symmans WF, Boughey JC , Coles C, Curigliano G, Dixon JM, Esserman LJ, Fastner G, Kuehn T, Peintinger F, von Minckwitz G, White J, Yang W, Badve S, Denkert C, MacGrogan G, Penault-Llorca F, Viale G, Cameron D.

  • “Standardization of pathologic evaluation and reporting of post-neoadjuvant specimens in clinical trials of breast cancer: Recommendations from an international working group” in Modern Pathology (2015) by Provenzano E, Bossuyt V, Viale G, Cameron D, Badve S, Denkert C, MacGrogan G, Penault-Llorca F, Boughey JC, Curigliano G, Dixon JM, Esserman LJ, Fastner G, Kuehn T, Peintinger F, von Minckwitz G, White J, Yang W, Symmans WF.

  • “Defining Breast Cancer Intrinsic Subtypes by Quantitative Receptor Expression” in The Oncologist (2015) by Cheang MC, Martin M, Nielsen TO, Prat A, Voduc D, Rodriguez-Lescure A, Ruiz A, Chia S, Shepherd L, Ruiz-Borrego M, Calvo L, Alba E, Carrasco E, Caballero R, Tu D, Pritchard KI, Levine MN, Bramwell VH, Parker J, Bernard PS, Ellis MJ, Perou CM, Di Leo A, Carey LA.

  • “An international study to increase concordance in Ki67 scoring” in Modern Pathology (2015) by Polley MY, Leung SC, Gao D, Mastropasqua MG, Zabaglo LA, Bartlett JM, McShane LM, Enos RA, Badve SS, Bane AL, Borgquist S, Fineberg S, Lin MG, Gown AM, Grabau D, Gutierrez C, Hugh JC, Moriya T, Ohi Y, Osborne CK, Penault-Llorca FM, Piper T, Porter PL, Sakatani T, Salgado R, Starczynski J, Lænkholm AV, Viale G, Dowsett M, Hayes DF, Nielsen TO.

  • “An International Ki67 Reproducibility Study” in JNCI (2013) by Polley MC, Leung SCY, McShane LM, Gao D, Hugh JC, Mastropasqua MG, Viale G, Zabaglo LA, Penault-Llorca F, Bartlett JMS, Gown AM, Symmans WF, Piper T, Mehl E, Enos RA, Hayes DF, Dowsett M, Nielsen TO.

  • "Perceptions and needs of women with metastatic breast cancer: A focus on clinical trials." Breast. 2013 Jun;22(3):370-3. Epub (2013) Nahleh ZA, Lin NU, Wolff AC, Cardoso F on behalf of the BIG-NABCG collaboration.

  • "A common language in neoadjuvant breast cancer clinical trials: proposals for standard definitions and endpoints." Lancet Oncology (2012)  Fumagalli D, Bedard PL, Nahleh Z, Michiels S, Sotiriou C, Loi S, Sparano JA, Ellis M, Hylton N, Zujewski JA, Hudis C, Esserman L, Piccart M; BIG-NABCG collaboration.

  • "Pregnancy after breast cancer: if you wish, ma'am." in Breast Cancer Res Treat (2011) by Pagani O, Partridge A, Korde L, Badve S, Bartlett J, Albain K, Gelber R, Goldhirsch A; Breast International Group; North American Breast Cancer Group Endocrine Working Group.

  • "Assessment of Ki67 in Breast Cancer: Recommendations from the International Ki67 in Breast Cancer Working Group” in JNCI (2011) by Dowsett M, Nielsen TO, A’Hern R, Bartlett J, Coombes RC, Cuzick J, Ellis M, Henry NL, Hugh JC, Lively T, McShane L, Paik S, Penault-Llorca F, Prudkin L, Regan M, Salter J, Sotiriou C, Smith IE, Viale G, Zujewski JA, Hayes DF.

  • "Proposals for uniform collection of biospecimens from neoadjuvant breast cancer clinical trials: timing and specimen types" in the Lancet Oncology (2011) by Loi S, Symmans WF, Bartlett J, Fumagalli D, Van't Veer L, Forbes JF, et al.

  • "Recommendations for collection and handling of specimens from group breast cancer clinical trials" in JCO (2008) by Leyland‐Jones BR, Ambrosone CB, Bartlett JMS, Ellis MJC, Enos RA, Raji A, Pins MR, Zujewski JA, Hewitt SM, Forbes JF, Abramovitz M, Braga S, Cardoso F, Harbeck N, Denkert C, Jewell SD.