This review by Dr Minami and colleagues at UCLA appears in the open-access journal Breast Cancer: Basic and Clinical Research [Triple-negative refers to tumors lacking estrogen receptors, progesterone receptors, and HER-2/neu expression.]
Notorious for its poor prognosis and aggressive nature, triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a heterogeneous disease entity. The nature of its biological specificity, which is similar to basal-like cancers, tumors arising in BRCA1 mutation carriers, and claudin-low cancers, is currently being explored in hopes of finding the targets for novel biologics and chemotherapeutic agents. In this review, we aim to give a broad overview of the disease’s nomenclature and epidemiology, as well as the basic mechanisms of emerging targeted therapies and their performance in clinical trials to date.
Though not synonymous with basal-like carcinoma, a 77-85% overlap with TNBC is reported.
While TCNB and basal-like tumors have a generally poorer prognosis than other breast malignancies, subtypes exist, including a subtype with lower relapse tendency.