Triple Negative Breast Cancer, a Fast Overview

Triple Negative Breast Cancer, what can I cover in a short space when it could fill a book.

Breast cancer markers that we look at are: estrogen receptors (ER-), progesterone receptors (PR-), and HER2 (HER2-). Testing negative for all three means the cancer is triple-negative.

This means the cancer cell are not stimulated by estrogen, progesterone or HER2 receptors on cells.

Triple-negative breast cancer does not respond to hormonal therapy (such as tamoxifen or aromatase inhibitors) or therapies that target HER2 receptors, such as Herceptin (chemical name: trastuzumab).

About 10-20% of breast cancers are found to be triple-negative.

Most commonly affected are:

  1. Young Women
  2. African American
  3. BRCA mutation

Triple negative breast cancer is treated with surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, like other breast cancers. Hormone or cell manipulation such as Herceptin is not used. Newer medications that target cellular pathways are on the horizon.  Your medical oncologist selects the best chemotherapy combination based on many factors and receptor status plays an important role in decision making.

Triple negative breast cancer is considered to be more aggressive from 0-5 years post therapy, but then the survival improves over other breast cancers of the same stage.

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