What is Triple Negative Breast Cancer?
Triple-negative breast cancer refers to any breast cancer that does not express the genes for estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR) and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HERS2). The most successful treatments for breast cancer target these receptors. Unfortunately, none of these receptors are found in women with triple negative breast cancer. In other words, 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 “triple negative breast cancer.” On a positive note, this type of breast cancer is typically responsive to chemotherapy. Because of its triple negative status, however, triple negative tumors generally do not respond to receptor targeted treatments.
Triple negative breast cancers comprise a very heterogeneous group of cancers. There is conflicting information over prognosis for the various subtypes, but currently general prognosis is rather similar with other breast cancer of same stage, except that more aggressive treatment is required. Some types of triple negative breast cancer are known to be more aggressive with poor prognosis, while other types have prognosis very similar or better than hormone receptor positive breast cancers. Depending on the stage of its diagnosis, triple negative breast cancer can be particularly aggressive, and more likely to recur than other subtypes of breast cancer.
Mable was diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer. According to a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Black women have higher rates of Triple negative breast cancer, with an incident rate of 20% compared to 9% among white women. It is also higher in Hispanic women, with a 13% rate. Unfortunately, Triple Negative breast cancer is the least understood, so research continues to find targeted treatment for triple negative breast cancer. Lightning’s Flower is committed to supporting research on TNBC.
Komen has created a fact sheet on Triple Negative Breast Cancer. It has some useful basic information. Additional information can be found about the research surrounding TNBC on the Susan G. Komen website.