Breast Cancer Blog | 2 Nov 2021, Monday
Triple-Negative Breast Cancer
Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) accounts for about 10-15% of all breast cancers. The term triple-negative breast cancer refers to the fact that the cancer cells don’t have estrogen or progesterone receptors and also don’t make too much of the protein called HER2.
(The cells test “negative” on all 3 tests.) These cancers tend to be more common in women younger than age 40, who are African-American, or who have a BRCA1 mutation.
Triple-negative breast cancer differs from other types of invasive breast cancer in that they grow and spread faster, have limited treatment options, and have a worse prognosis (outcome).
Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is considered aggressive cancer because it grows quickly, is more likely to have spread at the time it’s found and is more likely to come back after treatment than other types of breast cancer. The outlook is generally not as good as it is for other types of breast cancer.
Triple-negative breast cancer has fewer treatment options than other types of invasive breast cancer.
This is because the cancer cells do not have the estrogen or progesterone receptors or enough of the HER2 protein to make hormone therapy or targeted drugs work.
If the cancer has not spread to distant sites, surgery is an option. Chemotherapy might be given first to shrink a large tumor followed by surgery.
It might also be given after surgery to reduce the chances of the cancer coming back. Radiation might also be an option depending on certain features of the tumor.
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Because hormone therapy and HER2 drugs are not choices for women with triple-negative breast cancer, chemotherapy is often used.
In cases where the cancer has spread to other parts of the body (stage IV) chemotherapy and other treatments that can be considered include PARP inhibitors, platinum chemotherapy, or immunotherapy.