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Triple Negative Breast Cancer

Though not an official medical diagnosis, so-called “triple negative” breast cancer refers to the prognostic factors of breast cancers whose cells have tested negative for hormone epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER-2), estrogen receptors (ER), and progesterone receptors (PR). Approximately 10-20 percent of breast cancers are triple negative, and it is more likely to affect younger people, African Americans or Hispanics, and those with a BRCA1 gene mutation.

What is the treatment for triple negative breast cancer?

  • Surgery
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy (neoadjuvant or adjuvant)

Triple negative breast cancer does not respond to hormonal therapy, such as Tamoxifen or aromatase inhibitors, or other therapies that target HER-2, such as Herceptin or Tykerb. Therefore, some patients are concerned that they are unable to do more to fight breast cancer recurrence. Researchers are investigating new medications and therapies for this type of cancer.

What is the prognosis for triple negative breast cancer?

Cancers that are HER-2 negative, and ER negative and PR negative can be more aggressive and more difficult to treat. They are more likely to spread and reoccur. The size of the invasive component of the tumor and the number of lymph nodes with cancer will greatly influence your prognosis.