Breast cancer in women under 40 years of age accounts for 5% of all breast cancer cases in Canada, but this group is overrepresented among women who die from breast cancer (9%). The poor survival among young women is attributed to the aggressive nature of breast cancer with higher risk of metastases and progression in young women. Young women are not routinely screened and are more frequently diagnosed with advanced-stage cancer (12%) with a significantly higher proportion of triple negative breast cancer (TNBC).
Reduce the bUrden of Breast cancer in Young women (RUBY) aged 40 and under is an ongoing pan-Canadian collaborative study that was jointly funded by the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) in 2015. The Co-PIs of the RUBY study are Drs. May-Lynn Quan and Steven Narod. Dr. Akbari, is one of the co-investigators of the RUBY study who is responsible for the biobank of the project and genetic testing for one of its subprojects led by Dr. Kelly Metcalfe. The overall goal of the RUBY study is to establish a population-based cohort of 1,200 women diagnosed with breast cancer under 40 years of age, to enable clinically impactful research for this specific group of patients. Over thirty institutions and clinics across Canada have been working toward this goal. The RUBY cohort has prospectively collected extensive patient, risk, tumour and treatment factors in addition to pretreatment blood and surgical FFPE samples.