Thursday, December 8, 2011

News from San Antonio: Do TNBC Women Not Exist?

Broadcast and print media have been heralding breakthroughs in breast cancer research at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium this week. The Oncotype DX test can help determine treatment for women with DCIS, they say. Yay! BUT: The Oncotype DX test only works with hormone-postive disease, not hormone-negative, including triple-negative.

Strike one for a breakthrough for the TNBC women.

And zoledronic acid (Zometa) increases breast cancer survivorship. Yay! Oh, wait, that's for hormone-positive disease.

Strike two for TNBC women.

If we get one more strike, are we out?

This would be less frustrating if media reports would clarify that these advances apply to some types of breast cancer but not all. Lumping all of our lumps together is just confusing, frustrating, and wrong. We get our hopes up, only to spend hours looking for the research and finding that it does not include TNBC benefits.

OK, that's all. Just a little rant here.


Sue in Italia/In the Land Of Cancer said...

That oncotype DX has been around for a while. I can't believe they call that a breakthrough. Must be a slow news day.

I know there have been some clinical trials using metformin against TNBC. Those results would have been interesting.

Patricia Prijatel said...

Sue: The news about metformin is hopeful. I posted about it earlier:

And the news on the Oncotype test was its use for DCIS. For hormone-positive women, it can really be a good thing, saving them from over-treatment. For hormone-negative, not so much.

Anonymous said...

Pat, I am attending SABCS and I have had the same concerns. There doesn't seem to be much news about TNBC. It's disappointing. I asked one of the TNBC experts today about her thoughts on off-label use of metformin. She doesn't support it because metformin has not been proven to prevent recurrence. Maybe tomorrow will be a better day! Kelly

Patricia Prijatel said...

Thanks, Kelly. I would love to hear more of your perspective from the symposium. Let's hope tomorrow is, indeed, better.