A triple negative breast cancer diagnosis means that the offending tumor is estrogen receptor-negative, progesterone receptor-negative and HER2-negative, thus giving rise to the name established as "triple negative breast cancer."
There is a Foundation, TNBF (Tripple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation) which is devoted to finding targeted treatment for triple negative breast cancer. You too can help them as well as download PDF of the Guide to Understanding Triple Negative Breast Cancer,
A team of experts, including Dr. Foulkes at the Program in Cancer Genetics, Departments of Oncology and Human Genetics, Gerald Bronfman Centre for Clinical Research in Oncology, McGill University, have written an article on current concepts on Tripple Negative Breast Cancer with concluded with the following conclusion.
The article is available at NEJM, New England Journal of Medicine and from McGill University.
|Histologic and Immunohistochemical|
Features of Triple-Negative and Core Basallike
Taken in their entirety, triple-negative and basal like breast cancers show aggressive clinical behavior, but a subgroup of these cancers is markedly sensitive to chemotherapy and is associated with a good prognosis when treated with conventional chemotherapy regimens. Furthermore, some triple-negative and basal-like cancers may harbor a dysfunctional BRCA1 pathway and thus may be sensitive to agents such as platinum salts and inhibitors of the PARP enzyme that selectively target cells deficient in homologous recombination DNA repair. It seems very likely that neither triple-negative nor basal-like breast cancers are single entities but rather are a collection of different diseases. Hence, studies that address the molecular underpinning of this heterogeneity and attempt to identify the drivers of therapeutically relevant subgroups of triple-negative and basal-like breast cancers are warranted.
A diagnosis of triple-negative disease has currently important implications for the choice of systemic therapies. Given the lack of an internationally accepted definition of basal-like breast cancer, it is not surprising that this diagnosis has no clinical implications — especially since a substantive portion of these cancers may be ER-positive or may over express HER2. It could be argued that instead of identifying descriptive and prognostic molecular subgroups (e.g., basal-like and claudin-low) within the triple-negative group, it would be more clinically relevant to identify those patients whose triple-negative tumors are sensitive to specific chemotherapy agents (or combinations thereof) and targeted therapies. The expressions “triple-negative” and “basal-like” are essentially operational rather than diagnostic. In time, they will probably be replaced by other, more specific terminology.