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Triple Negative Breast Cancer News
Darb-Esfahani S, Kronenwett R, von Minckwitz G et al. Thymosin best 15A (TMSB15A) is a predictor of chemotherapy response in triple-negative breast cancer. British Journal of Cancer. Early online publication October 18, 2012.

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Researchers Explore Response to Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy
Online publication date: October 18, 2012

Among women with triple-negative breast cancer, information about gene expression within the cancer may help to predict response to neoadjuvant (before surgery) chemotherapy. These results were published in the British Journal of Cancer.

Neoadjuvant chemotherapy refers to chemotherapy that is given prior to surgery. Women who have a complete response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy (a complete elimination of detectable cancer) tend to have better outcomes than women who do not have a complete response. Early identification of women who are most likely to benefit from neoadjuvant chemotherapy may help guide treatment decisions.

For several types of cancer, it's become apparent that the activity of certain genes within the cancer can provide information about prognosis and/or response to treatment. Among women with early-stage, hormone receptor-positive breast cancer, for example, the Oncotype DX test provides information about recurrence risk and benefit from chemotherapy.

Researchers in Germany recently reported that expression of a gene known as TMSB15A may help to predict response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy among women with triple-negative breast cancer. The researchers evaluated four different groups of women with HER2-negative breast cancer. Levels of TMSB15A were measured in samples of tumor tissue that were collected prior to treatment.

  • The ability of TMSB15A to predict response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy was strongest among women with triple-negative breast cancer.
  • Among women with triple-negative breast cancer, higher expression of TMSB15A was linked with higher rates of complete response. In one of the study groups, for example, a complete response occurred in 37% of women with high expression of TMSB15A and 17% of women with low expression of TMSB15A.
Research in this area is still at an early stage, but may eventually help guide treatment decisions for women with triple-negative breast cancer. If women learn that they are unlikely to respond to one type of treatment, they can explore other treatment options.

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