Date of presentation: June 3, 2013
Triple-negative breast cancers are a diverse group of cancers, and defining subtypes of the disease may help to predict response to treatment. These results were presented at the 2013 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
Patterns of gene activity within a tumor can have an important effect on how the tumor grows and how it responds to certain types of treatment. Researchers have started to explore how gene profiling can be used to define subtypes of triple-negative breast cancer. This process is still at an early phase, but it may eventually help to guide treatment decisions and to identify new approaches to treatment.
To explore whether response to neoadjuvant (before surgery) chemotherapy varies by subtype of triple-negative breast cancer, researchers evaluated information from 130 women. Based on the results of gene profiling, the cancers were divided into seven subtypes.
- The rate of complete response (complete disappearance of detectable cancer) ranged from a high of 52% among women with a subtype known as BL1, to a low of 0% among women with a subtype known as BL2.
This study supports that idea that subtypes of triple-negative breast cancer respond differently to cancer treatment. These results need to be validated in a larger study, and research in this area is ongoing, but recognition that not all triple-negative breast cancers are the same is an important step toward more individualized treatment of this disease.