An EU-funded consortium to promote collaboration in translational breast cancer research

TRANSBIG was an EU-funded consortium coordinated by the Breast International Group to promote collaboration in translational breast cancer research.

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TRANSBIG was an EU-funded consortium coordinated by the Breast International Group (BIG) to promote collaboration in translational breast cancer research. TRANSBIG’s main focus was an international clinical trial known as  MINDACT (Microarray In Node-negative and 1 to 3 positive lymph node Disease may Avoid ChemoTherapy), which is sponsored  by the European Organisation for the Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) ( and enrolled more than 6693 women in 9 European countries.

TRANSBIG’s overall aim was to individualise treatment by rapidly “translating” the latest discoveries in cancer biology made by laboratory scientists into tools that doctors can use to help make decisions about the way to treat patients.

This is because a refinement in prognosis allows for better prediction of the outcome of treatment and can thereby reduce the proportion of women receiving chemotherapy. This would simultaneously avoid unnecessary exposure to toxicity and harmful long-term side effects. The cost of cancer care would decrease, as would the burden on European health care systems.

TRANSBIG’s goal was achieved through the MINDACT clinical trial, which showed that a 70-gene signature, commercially known as MammaPrint®, when used in addition to common clinical-pathological criteria, could identify patients who could be spared adjuvant chemotherapy.

TRANSBIG ran a major international clinical trial called MINDACT (Microarray In Node-negative and 1 to 3 positive lymph node Disease may Avoid ChemoTherapy) to test a 70-gene tool (MammaPrint®) to identify which women needed chemotherapy after surgery and which did not. More information can be found here.

39 partners in 21 countries include the European and Latin American leaders in cancer treatment, genomics, microarray technology, proteomics, bioinformatics and biostatistics. Other critical elements in the fight against breast cancer are integrated into the TRANSBIG consortium as well: a patient advocacy network and a federation of cancer societies.

Breast International Group (BIG-aisbl), BrusselsInternational  (Coordinator)
Institut Jules Bordet / Jules Bordet Instituut, BrusselsBelguim
The Netherlands Cancer Institute, AmsterdamNetherlands
Istituto Europeo di Oncologia – European Institute of OncologyItalie
Karolinska Institute & Hospital, StockholmSuède
Southwest Wales Cancer Institute, SwanseaUK
The European Organization for the Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC), BrusselsInternational
University of Glasgow, GlasgowUK
Vienna General HospitalAustria
 Chilean Cooperative Group for Oncologic Research (GOCCHI)Chile
The Bank of Cyprus Oncology Centre, NicosiaCyprus
Dept of Oncology of the 1st Faculty of Medicine Charles University and General Teaching Hospital, PragueCzech Republic
Rigshopitalet, CopenhagenDenmark
Institut Gustave Roussy, VillejuifFrance
West German Study Group / Frauenklinik der Heinrich-Heine- Universitaet DuesseldorfGermany
Universitaetsfrauenklinik – FrankfurtGermany
Dept. of OB/GYN, Technical University of MunichGermany
Universitaetsklinikum Eppendorf HamburgGermany
National and Kapodistrian University of AthensGrèce
St Vincent’s Hospital, DublinIrlande
Gruppo Oncologico Italiano di Ricerca Clinica (GOIRC)Italie
Centre Hospitalier de LuxembourgLuxembourg
University Maastricht / GROWNetherlands
Dept of Oncology & Radiotherapy, Medical University of Gdansk, GdanskPoland
Portuguese Institute of Oncology, Porto Centre, PortoPortugal
N. N. Blokhin Cancer Research Centre, MoscowRussia
Institute of Oncology LjubljanaSlovenia
Institute of Oncology of Southern SwitzerlandSwitzerland
Marmara University Hospital, IstanbulTurkey
Federation of European Cancer SocietiesInternational
Europa DonnaInternational
Instituto de Patologia e Imunologia Molecular da Universidade do Porto (IPATIMUP)Portugal
International Institute for Drug DevelopmentBelgique
GSF – Research Centre for Environment and HealthGermany
Vall d’Hebron University HospitalEspagne
Grupo Espanol de Estudio y Tratamiento deTumores SolidosEspagne
Swiss Institute of BioinformaticsSwitzerland
The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of OxfordRoyaume-Uni

Start date: 01/03/04

End date: 28/02/11

  • Tuma RS, A big trial for a new technology: TransBIG. Project takes microarrays into clinical trials, J Natl Cancer Inst. 2004 May 5;96(9):648-9.      
  • Buyse M, Loi S, van’t Veer L, et al. ; Validation and clinical utility of a 70-gene prognostic signature for women with node-negative breast cancer, 2006, Journal National Cancer Inst. 2006 Sep 6;98(17):1183-92.

  • Desmedt C, Piette F, Loi S; TRANSBIG Consortium, Strong time dependence of the 76-gene prognostic signature for node-negative breast cancer patients in the TRANSBIG multicenter independent validation series, 2007, Clinical Cancer Research. 2007 Jun 1;13(11):3207-14.

  • Mook S, Schmidt MK, Viale G, et al. ; The 70-gene prognosis-signature predicts disease outcome in breast cancer patients with 1-3 positive lymph nodes in an independent validation study, Epub 2008, Jul 27., Breast Cancer Research and Treatment. 2009 Jul;116(2):295-302.

  • Mook S, Cardoso F, van ’t Veer L, Personalized medicine by the use of microarray gene expression profiling, 2008, Pharmacogenetics of Breast Cancer: towards the Individualization of Therapy. Translational Medecine Series 7. Editor Leyland-Jones B; Informa Healthcare USA, Inc, 123-134, 2008.

  • Dinh P, Cardoso F, Sotiriou C, Piccart-Gebhart MJ, New tools for assessing breast cancer recurrence 2008,  Cancer Treatment and Research, 2008; 141:99-118.

  • Cardoso F, Saghatchian M, Thompson A, Rutgers E; TRANSBIG Consortium Steering Committee. Inconsistent criteria used in American Society of Clinical Oncology 2007 update of recommendations for the use of tumor markers in breast cancer, Journal of Clinical Oncology 2008, Apr 20;26(12):2058-9; author reply 2060-1.

  • Haibe-Kains B, Desmedt C, Piette F, Buyse M, Cardoso F, Van’t Veer L, Piccart M, Bontempi G, Sotiriou C.,  Comparison of prognostic gene expression signatures for breast cancer, BMC Genomics. 2008 Aug 21;9:394

The TRANSBIG project received funding from the European Union’s European Commission’s Framework Programme VI under grant agreement number 503426.

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