BIG just appointed new Executive Board which went into effect on 1 July 2017

Brussels, 3 July 2017 – The Breast International Group (BIG), one of the largest international not-for-profit organisations for academic breast cancer research groups from around the world, is pleased to announce the election of its new Executive Board. It went into effect on 1 July 2017.

BIG’s Executive Board is expanding from nine to 15 members to include more cancer disciplines and represent better the geographies covered by BIG.

The expanded board now embodies a broad range of cancer expertise such as medical oncology, gynaecological oncology, surgical oncology, radiation oncology, biostatistics and clinical trials methodology, translational research and business. From a geographic point of view, BIG constitutes a network of about 60 academic collaborative groups from Europe, Canada, Latin America, Asia and Australasia. These entities are tied to several thousand specialised hospitals and research centres worldwide. Since being founded in 1999, BIG has run over 50 clinical trials under its umbrella, several of which are considered landmark studies and practice-changing.

BIG’s Executive Board, chaired by Dr. Martine Piccart and supported by BIG Headquarters in Brussels (Belgium), is BIG’s main scientific authority. As of 1 July 2017, the BIG Executive Board is represented by the following world-class breast cancer specialists:

  • Martine Piccart-Gebhart (BIG Chair), Oncologist – IJB (Institut Jules Bordet – Belgium,
  • Michael Gnant (BIG Treasurer), Surgeon – ABCSG (Austrian Breast & Colorectal Cancer Study Group – Austria,
  • Fabrice André, Oncologist – Unicancer (France,
  • José Baselga, Oncologist – SOLTI (Spain,[]
  • Judith Bliss, Biostatistician – ICR-CTSU (The Institute of Cancer Research, London, Clinical Trials & Statistics Unit – UK,
  • David Cameron, Oncologist – EORTC BCG (European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer, Breast Cancer Group – UK,
  • Boon Chua, Radiation oncologist – TROG & ANZBCTG (Trans Tasman Radiation Oncology Group & Australia & New Zealand Breast Cancer Trials Group – Australia,,
  • Marco Colleoni, Oncologist – IBCSG (International Breast Cancer Study Group – Switzerland,
  • Angelo Di Leo, Oncologist – IBCSG (International Breast Cancer Study Group – Switzerland,
  • Karen Gelmon, Oncologist – CCTG (Canadian Cancer Trial Group – Canada,
  • Sibylle Loibl, Gynaecologist – GBG (German Breast Group – Germany,
  • Shinji Ohno, Surgeon – JBCRG (Japan Breast Cancer Research Group – Japan,
  • Aleix Prat, Oncologist – SOLTI (Spain,
  • Ander Urruticoechea, Oncologist – GEICAM (Spanish Breast Cancer Group – Spain,


BIG’s Executive Board represents the leadership of the organisation, reporting to the General Assembly of all member groups. It is primarily responsible for proposing, shaping and reviewing BIG’s strategies and related objectives, and for ensuring the long-term viability of the association.

Executive Board members are expected to commit considerable time and effort to the association and to work with BIG Headquarters and other governance bodies in carrying out the BIG mission and strategic plan. There is no monetary compensation for the function.

One of the most essential qualities of the members of BIG’s Executive Board is to have a strong code of ethics to ensure that clinical trials and research programmes under the BIG umbrella are conducted to the highest quality standards and BIG principles of research conduct.

Both strong advocates for, and leaders of international research collaborations, Dr. Martine Piccart and Dr. Aron Goldhirsch co-founded BIG in 1996, which became an international not-for-profit organisation under Belgian law in 1999. When the decision was taken to expand the Executive Board, Dr. Goldhirsch chose to step down, thus giving more opportunity for the next generation to drive BIG forward.

Dr. Martine Piccart: “By expanding its Executive Board, BIG recognises that the ‘global cancer problem’ has particularities in each region and country. We are constantly pursuing closer relationships with our members outside of Western Europe. I am very encouraged by the new composition of the Executive Board. I believe it will bring a renewed dynamic and a strengthened strategic thinking to the organisation. This is essential for the future of BIG as an academic and patient-centred organisation. Finally, I wish to extend my heartfelt thanks to Dr. Aron Goldhirsch, with whom I started BIG some 20 years ago. Thanks to his tireless determination and a strong collaborative spirit, we were able to make significant progress in the field of breast cancer research and the development of cures.”