We’re getting closer. For several years, researchers have said that triple-negative breast cancer is not one disease, but many, with numerous studies focusing on the genetic similarities that create subsets of TNBC. And drug combinations work better that single agents, according to a new article in Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News (April 26, 2013).
According to researchers, nearly half of all TNBC cells express the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). Current clinical trials are testing anti-EGFR drugs that may target these types of TNBC. Two such antibodies—two EGFR antibodies (panitumumab and mAb111)—show promise.
BUT, I have to warn that the first sentence of the article will make all TNBC patients shudder:
Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is an aggressive form of breast cancer that does not currently have any targeted therapeutics available.
Here’s my reaction to that comment.
• TNBC can be more aggressive than other forms, but it is not always aggressive and the great majority of women with TNBC survive beautifully.
• We need to differentiate between metastatic and non-metastatic TNBC. Non-metastatic TNBC does have therapeutics—chemo often works better for it than for other forms of breast cancer. Metastatic TNBC does not have targeted therapies yet—but let’s hope this research makes a difference there.
• Read more about TNBC in my book, Surviving Triple-Negative Breast Cancer.