I have seen two news stories in the past three days that misrepresent triple-negative breast cancer. One said TNBC does not respond to chemotherapy; the other said that most women die of TNBC within two years. Both are wrong.
Here's what research tells us:
1. The majority of women with triple-negative survive.
2. Risk of death significantly drops three years after diagnosis.
3. Chemotherapy is successful in reducing TNBC tumors and their risk of recurrence.
According to research at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto on 1,601 patients with breast cancer diagnosed between 1987 and 1997, published in 2007:
• The majority of the TNBC women—57.8 percent—were alive after ten years
• The risk of recurrence significantly dropped after three years
• No recurrences occurred after eight years.
Eric Weiner, M.D., and Erica Mayers, M.D., M.P.H., of Dana Farber say this about chemotherapy and TNBC:
Triple-negative tumors do not respond to endocrine agents or trastuzumab and can only be treated with chemotherapy. Fortunately, increasing evidence suggests that the triple-negative subgroup derives substantial and preferential benefit from chemotherapy. Read more here.