ESMO E-Learning: Triple Negative Breast Cancer is Still an Unmet Need

Learning Objectives

  • To provide an update on epidemiology, pathological features and clinical course in patients with triple negative breast cancer
  • To summarise state-of-the-art treatment approaches in patients with triple negative breast cancer
  • To elaborate on how exploiting triple negative breast cancer heterogeneity could contribute to identify druggable pathways
Title Duration Content CME Points CME Test
Triple Negative Breast Cancer is Still an Unmet Need 30 min. 67 slides 1 Take Test
Valentina Guarneri
Read more
Maria Vittoria Dieci
Read more

Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is characterised by a lack of expression of Oestrogen receptor, progesterone receptor and lack of HER2 overexpression/Amplification. TNBC comprises 10-20% of all breast cancers. Most BRCA mutation carriers develop TNBC. It includes rare histologies; it is heterogeneous and harbours several molecular alterations.

TNBC is the most lethal form of breast cancer. It is most frequently diagnosed in younger women and the prevalence is higher in women of Afro–American ethnicity.

Clinically, TNBC is characterised by a higher risk of earlier relapse, high risk for visceral involvement, including dissemination to the central nervous system. Median survival from the time of developing metastases rarely exceeds one year.

Due to lack of targets, endocrine therapy and anti-HER2 treatments are not effective. However, chemosensitivity is one the TNBC features. Chemotherapy is the mainstay of treatment in both early and advanced settings. Treatment options have mostly remained unchanged over the yearswith anthracycline/taxane as a first choice in the neo-/adjuvant setting. In patients with BRCA-mutated TNBC, tailored-chemotherapy with platinum salts may be considered.

In this E-Learning module, by providing the update on state-of-the-art treatment approaches in women with TNBC, the authors looked into recent attempts to further exploit TNBC chemosensitivity and elaborate the studies with novel targets and approaches that helped in understanding how genomic complexity of TNBC could eventually assist in identifying druggable pathways.   

PARP inhibitors hold great promise for BRCA-mutated patients and immunotherapy with anti-PD1/PD-L1 antibodies is on the horizon for patients with TNBC. However, the authors conclude that the patient population with TNBC remains with still unmet medical needs. The authors underline the need for understanding Predictive markers from studying novel treatment approaches in this highly devastating form of breast cancer.

Last update: 16 February 2017

Prof Guarneri to be a member of the Speakers’ Bureau for AstraZeneca. Dr Dieci has reported no conflicts of interest.