A study of cell changes in breast cancer that has spread to another part of the body (AURORA)

Cancer type:

Breast cancer
Cancer spread to the liver
Cancer spread to the lung
Secondary cancers





This study wants to identify the different cell changes that occur in breast cancer. It is open to women and men whose breast cancer has spread to another part of the body (secondary breast cancer) or has come back after treatment in the same place (locally recurred).

More about this trial

The researchers will collect information about your cancer and treatment. They will also collect blood samples and do tests on samples of cancer tissue. The aim is to increase understanding of secondary and locally recurred breast cancer and improve treatment.

Please note you may not get any benefit from joining this study. The researchers hope the information gained will improve the care and treatment of people with breast cancer in the future.

Who can enter

The following bullet points list the entry conditions for this study. If you are unsure about any of these speak with your doctor or the study team. They will be able to advise you.

You may be able to join this study if all of the following apply. You

  • Have breast cancer that has spread to another part of your body or has come back in the same area and it can't be treated with the aim to cure
  • Are well enough to carry out all your normal activities, apart from heavy physical work (performance status of 0 or 1)
  • Have satisfactory blood test results
  • Are at least 18 years old

You cannot join this study if any of these apply. You

  • Have had more than 1 type of treatment that reaches your whole body (systemic treatment Open a glossary item) for example chemotherapy
  • Have had radiotherapy for symptom control to the only area of cancer spread where a sample of tissue (biopsy) can be taken
  • Have had another cancer in the past 5 years apart from successfully treated non melanoma skin cancer Open a glossary item or in situ carcinoma of the cervix

Trial design

This study is open in Europe and the UK. The researchers need 1,000 women and men to join.

The researchers will ask your permission to look at your medical notes to find out about your breast cancer diagnosis, treatment and current state of your cancer. They will check your notes every 6 months to see what treatment you have and the outcome of it.

They will take blood samples

  • When you join
  • Every 6 months for 10 years if you decide to do so
  • If your cancer starts to grow again

The researchers will ask for a sample of your cancer spread. They can use a sample of tissue taken from

  • Any surgery to remove your cancer spread
  • Any biopsy Open a glossary item you have had since your cancer spread

If you haven’t had surgery or a biopsy done your doctor will talk to you about taking a biopsy of your cancer spread for this study.

The team will also ask for a sample of your primary breast cancer Open a glossary itemthat was removed when you had surgery or a biopsy.

Hospital visits

The blood samples are taken at your routine clinic appointments. You may have one extra hospital visit every 6 months to collect a blood sample during the 10 years of follow up.

Side effects

You may have small amount of  discomfort, bruising or bleeding from where the biopsy and blood samples are taken.



Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

How to join a clinical trial

Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Professor David Cameron

Supported by

Breast International Group (BIG)
Institute of Cancer Research (ICR)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:


Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Around 1 in 5 people take part in clinical trials

3 phases of trials

Around 1 in 5 people diagnosed with cancer in the UK take part in a clinical trial.

Last reviewed:

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