Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Triple chemo regimen improves response in triple-negative breast cancer

CANCER DIGEST – Sept. 9, 2014 – More women with triple-negative breast cancer achieved a complete response to chemotherapy when either an additional chemo agent or targeted therapy was added to paclitaxel, followed by a combination chemotherapy.

Triple-negative breast cancer accounts for 15 to 20 percent of invasive breast cancers and occurs more commonly in younger women, African-Americans, Hispanics and BRCA1-mutation carriers.
The cancer is negative for estrogen and progesterone receptors and for HER2. It tends to grow rapidly and spread to lymph nodes. With no identified characteristic molecular abnormalities that can be targeted, the current standard of treatment for triple negative breast cancer is chemotherapy to shrink the cancer before surgery to remove tumors. The study was published online ahead of print in the Journal of Clinical Oncology

Women who achieve a complete response to the pre-surgery chemotherapy, meaning all traces of the cancer is eradicated by the chemo, are much less likely to relapse. In an effort to increase the number of women who achieve complete response, researchers led by Dr. William Sikov of the Breast Health Center at Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island, added either the chemotherapy agent carboplatin or the targeted therapy bevacizumab (Avastin) or both to the standard chemotherapy regimen. Both groups showed significant increases in the number of women who achieved a complete response. Whether this will improve relapse-free or overall survival, however, is not yet known.

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