What is Triple Negative Breast Cancer?
What is triple negative breast cancer (TNBC), its incidence in men and women, and the symptoms that can help with early detection? Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women with different characteristics according to morphological, clinical, hormone receptor level, and response to treatment.
So, what is triple negative breast cancer? The most distinctive feature that distinguishes triple negative breast cancer from other breast cancers is that the receptors on the cancer cell surfaces are negative. In other words, it is the absence of these three receptors, which are referred to as estrogen hormone receptor (ER), progesterone hormone receptor (PR), and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2).
What Are the Symptoms of Triple Negative Breast Cancer?
There is no difference in the way that TNBC is diagnosed from other breast cancers. TNBC and other breast cancers can be detected by mammography. In addition, as with other types of breast cancer, individuals may feel a mass in the breast and consult their physician. When a mass or growth is detected, the suspicious tissue will need to be removed and examined via a biopsy of the breast tissue, which will determine if cancerous cells are present.
Breast cancer is also closely related to environmental factors. Lifestyle, dietary habits, and genetic factors can increase the risk of developing breast cancer. Today, excessive weight gain or obesity, because of unbalanced nutrition, increases the risk of breast cancer. The risk of breast cancer also increases in women who do not have children or have children at a late age. In addition, gene mutations, such as BRCA1 and BRCA2, can be identified and help determine hereditary risk factors.
Can Breast Cancer Cell Hormone Receptors Be Treated with Medication?
The receptors on the cancer cell surface are a protein structure. These receptors cause the cells to grow, differentiate, and spread to the surrounding tissues and even distant organs by receiving the stimulus signals coming from outside the cell.
Today, breast cancer treatments are being developed to target hormone receptors and can either slow down or stop the growth of the cancerous cells. However, none of these treatments are used in the treatment of TNBC, which makes TNBC a particularly difficult disease to treat, as targeted therapies used for hormone receptor and HER2-positive disease are not effective in TNBC.
How is Triple Negative Breast Cancer Treated?
Triple negative breast cancer treatment options are more limited than other types of cancer, and the main treatment of advanced stage triple negative breast cancer today is chemotherapy.
In recent years, it has become increasingly clear how cancer cells escape from the immune system. As a result, targeted drugs have been developed that prevent and kill cancer cells from the immune system called “immunotherapy”. The most promising breast cancer type for immunotherapy is TNBC which is defined as “multi-personality”.
The most recent developments are taking place in drugs that act on the immune system. Studies of certain drugs which have already been approved for malignant melanoma, head and neck, and lung cancers, continue in triple negative breast cancer patients.