Attitudes of patients with metastatic breast cancer toward research biopsies

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BackgroundResearch studies involving human tissue are increasingly common. However, patients' attitudes toward research biopsies are not well characterized, particularly when the biopsies are carried out outside the context of therapeutic trials.Patients and methodsOne hundred sixty patients with metastatic breast cancer (MBC) from two academic (n = 80) and two community (n = 80) hospitals completed a 29-item self-administered survey to evaluate their willingness to consider providing research purposes only biopsies (RPOBs) (as a stand-alone procedure) and additional biopsies (ABs) (additional needle passes at the time of a clinically indicated biopsy).ResultsEighty-two (51%) of 160 patients would consider having RPOBs, of which 42 (53%) and 40 (50%) patients were from academic and community hospitals, respectively. Patients who had more prior biopsies were less likely to consider RPOBs (RR = 0.6, 95% CI: 0.4–1.0, P = 0.03). Of 160 patients, 115 (72%) patients would consider having ABs. Of these, 64 (80%) and 51 (64%) patients from academic and community hospitals, respectively, would consider ABs (RR = 1.2, 95% CI: 1.0–1.5, P = 0.03).ConclusionsMany patients with MBC in both academic and community settings report willingness to consider undergoing biopsies for research. Further research is needed to understand ethical, logistical and provider-based barriers to broader participation in such studies.

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