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Triple-negative breast cancer: treatment challenges and solutions

Authors Collignon J, Lousberg L, Schroeder H, Jerusalem G

Received 10 January 2016

Accepted for publication 10 March 2016

Published 20 May 2016 Volume 2016:8 Pages 93—107


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Lucy Goodman

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Pranela Rameshwar

Joëlle Collignon,1 Laurence Lousberg,1 Hélène Schroeder,1 Guy Jerusalem,1,2

1Medical Oncology Department, CHU Sart Tilman Liege, Domaine Universitaire du Sart Tilman, Liege, Belgium; 2University of Liege, Liege, Belgium

Abstract: Triple-negative breast cancers (TNBCs) are defined by the absence of estrogen and progesterone receptors and the absence of HER2 overexpression. These cancers represent a heterogeneous breast cancer subtype with a poor prognosis. Few systemic treatment options exist besides the use of chemotherapy (CT). The heterogeneity of the disease has limited the successful development of targeted therapy in unselected patient populations. Currently, there are no approved targeted therapies for TNBC. However, intense research is ongoing to identify specific targets and develop additional and better systemic treatment options. Standard adjuvant and neoadjuvant regimens include anthracyclines, cyclophosphamide, and taxanes. Platinum-based CT has been proposed as another CT option of interest in TNBC. We review the role of this therapy in general, and particularly in patients carrying BRCA germ-line mutations. Available data concerning the role of platinum-based CT in TNBC were acquired primarily in the neoadjuvant setting. The routine use of platinum-based CT is not yet recommended by available guidelines. Many studies have reported the molecular characterization of TNBCs. Several actionable targets have been identified. Novel therapeutic strategies are currently being tested in clinical trials based on promising results observed in preclinical studies. These targets include androgen receptor, EGFR, PARP, FGFR, and the angiogenic pathway. We review the recent data on experimental drugs in this field. We also discuss the recent data concerning immunologic checkpoint inhibitors.

Keywords: triple-negative breast cancer, molecular subtype, platinum-based chemotherapy, targeted therapy, androgen receptor, BRCA1/2 mutation

A Letter to the Editor has been received and published for this article.

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