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Update on triple-negative breast cancer: prognosis and management strategies

Authors Brouckaert, Wildiers, Floris, Neven P

Received 27 June 2012

Accepted for publication 25 July 2012

Published 24 September 2012 Volume 2012:4 Pages 511—520

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJWH.S18541

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3


Olivier Brouckaert, Hans Wildiers, Giuseppe Floris, Patrick Neven

Multidisciplinary Breast Centre, UZ Leuven, Leuven, Belgium

Abstract: Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a heterogeneous disease comprehending different orphan breast cancers simply defined by the absence of ER/PR/HER-2. Approximately 15%–20% of all breast cancers belong to this phenotype that has distinct risk factors, distinct molecular features, and a particular clinical presentation and outcome. All these features will be discussed in this review. The risk of developing TNBC varies with age, race, genetics, breastfeeding patterns, and parity. Some TNBC are very chemo-sensitive and the majority of patients confronted with and treated for TNBC will never relapse. Some (histological) subgroups of TNBC may have good prognosis even in the absence of chemotherapy. Distinct molecular subgroups within TNBC have been defined now as well. In case metastatic relapse occurs, this is usually within 5 years following surgery, and survival following metastatic relapse is shorter compared to other breast cancer subtypes; treatment options are few and responses lack durability. Novel drug targets and new biomarkers are needed to improve breast cancer care for patients presenting with TNBC. Further molecular/biological unraveling of TNBC is needed.

Keywords: breast cancer, triple negative, review

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