Triple negative breast cancer, an especially aggressive form of the disease, is prevalent among young women and African-American women. Researchers Carey Anders, M.D., and Lisa A. Carey, M.D., published a thorough research review of triple negative in the journal Oncology October 1, 2008. The entire article is available online.
• Triple negative breast cancer is a breast cancer subtype in which all hormone receptors are negative. That is, it is estrogen-negative (ER-), progesterone-negative (PR-) and negative for the human growth factor receptor Her2-neu.
• Estimates are that 172,000 women will have been diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer in 2008.
• Most, but not all, BRCA1 breast cancers are triple negative.
• Triple negative responds well to chemotherapy, especially anthracycline and anthracycline/taxane.
• Triple negative does not respond to tamoxifen or aromatase inhibitors like Arimidex, so there is no standard follow-up treatment.
• Research on new treatments shows promise. These include epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitors, which are currently in clinical trials.
Source: C. Anders and L. A. Carey, “Understanding and Treating Triple-Negative Breast Cancer,” Oncology, Vol. 22, No. 11, October 1, 2008.