Triple Negative Breast Cancer Advanced Clinical Trials
What is Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer is a cancer that forms in the cells of the breasts. When normal cell division in the breast becomes uncontrollable, the extra cells form a non-cancerous (benign) or cancerous (malignant) mass called a tumor. Breast tumors can usually be removed, but they can form again, cover the surrounding tissues and organs and spread to other parts of the body.
The development of breast cancer is closely related to risk factors including lifestyle, environmental, and genetic mutations. In addition, gene mutations increase the risk of breast cancer such as BRCA1 and BRCA2.
What does Hormone Receptor Status Mean?
Some breast cancer cells can also be driven by hormones called estrogen and progesterone. The breast cancer cells may have receptors on their surfaces that carry these hormones in the body. When the tumor is tested by taking a sample by biopsy or surgery, the cells are checked to see if the breast cancer cells may have one, both, or none of these receptors:
- Estrogen receptor (ER) positive: tumor has estrogen receptors
- Progesterone receptor (PR) positive: tumor has progesterone receptors
- Hormone receptor (HR) positive: tumor has one or both estrogen or progesterone
- Hormone receptor (HR) negative: tumor does not have estrogen or progesterone receptors
What does HER2 Status Mean?
Some breast tumors have the HER2 gene which is a growth promoting protein. HER2 testing is usually tested along with the hormone receptor status. HER2 positive cancer can tend to be more aggressive.
What is Triple Negative Breast Cancer?
Triple negative breast cancer is defined as the tumor being:
- Estrogen receptor (ER) negative
- Progesterone receptor (PR) negative
- HER2 negative
This type of breast cancer usually has a poor prognosis and limited treatment options.
What are Treatment Options for Breast Cancer?
Although breast cancer treatment varies according to the stage of the patient's disease, the treatments include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Hormone or endocrine therapy is also an option depending on hormone receptor status.
Targeted therapy is a newer form of precision medicine. Targeted therapy works by targeting or interfering with the genetic alterations or biomarker that control the cancer. There are many targeted therapy drugs already approved, but research is ongoing to find more biomarkers to target. Fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) pathways are especially relevant in breast cancer and targeting these genetic alterations has become a promising treatment option.
For example, there are clinical trials studying drugs targeting FGFR gene amplifications in breast cancer. Massive Bio can help you understand whether you would qualify for these or other trials for breast cancer.