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Triple-Negative Breast Cancer

Triple-Negative Breast Cancer

Scientists have discovered that the injection of an engineered virus into triple-negative breast cancer cells may allow the cancers to be treated with therapeutic radioiodine, a treatment traditionally used to treat thyroid cancers.

Clearly there is no single therapy for all patients with TNBC, given the molecular heterogeneity of this subtype. However, new insights from further genomic analysis of TNBC suggest approaches to rational clinical trial design, and patients will undoubtedly benefit as we define the most appropriate therapeutic targets in management of this aggressive disease.

Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) remains a very challenging entity today, but with the identification of new targets and further optimization of therapy, the landscape for TNBC may not look so negative. In the future, “TNBC” may be considered an antiquated misnomer, as we will have identified various breast cancer subgroups based on what they “are” rather than what they “are not.”

With regard to potential research strategies relevant to the treatment of triple-negative breast cancer/basal-like breast cancer, potential targets include PTEN, INPP4B, PIK3CA, KRAS, BRAF, EGFR, FGFR1, FGFR2, IGFR1, KIT, MET, PDGFRA, and the HIF1-α/ARNT pathway. Many of these will be discussed further in this review article.

In a study presented at ASCO, a team of researchers used microarrays to characterize 130 triple-negative breast cancer patients treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy to see whether certain subtypes are more likely to respond to the treatment.

Washington, DC—“Triple-negative breast tumors are composed of mosaic cancer cells with distinct genetic aberrations,” said Jorge S. Reis-Filho, MD, PhD, a surgical pathologist at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, who combines traditional pathology, gene expression profiling, and genomics techniques to understand rare breast tumor types, including triple-negative diseases.

Additional insight into the biology of ER-positive breast cancers, particularly the higher risk luminal B cancers, could aid in identifying potential targets and new, effective therapies. And though the majority of triple-negative breast cancers are the “basal-like” subtype, significant proportions are in other subtypes.


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