Did you know that there are many types of breast cancer? Breast cancer is a disease made up of several subtypes, one of which is called triple negative breast cancer. Approximately 10% to 20% of breast cancers are triple-negative.
Triple-negative breast cancer cells do not express three markers that can play a role in breast cancer.
- Estrogen receptor(ER)
- Progesterone receptor(PR)
- HER2(human epidermal growth factor receptor 2)
These negative results mean that the growth of the cancer is not supported by the hormones estrogen and progesterone, or by the presence of too many HER2 receptors. Therefore, triple-negative breast cancer does not respond to hormonal therapy (such as Tamoxifen or aromatase inhibitors) that target estrogen and progesterone, or therapies that target HER2 receptors, such as Herceptin.
Who gets triple -negative breast cancers?
- Younger people – Triple-negative breast cancer is more likely to occur before age 40 or 50, whereas other breast cancer types are more common in women; 60 or older.
- African-American and Hispanic women -Triple-negative breast cancer most commonly affects African-American women, followed by Hispanic women. Asian women and non-Hispanic white women are less likely to develop this type of cancer.
- People with a BRCA1 mutation. – When people with an inherited BRCA1 gene mutation develop breast cancer, especially before age 50, it is often triple-negative.
Researchers do not yet understand why premenopausal women and women in some ethnic groups have higher rates of triple negative breast cancer–than other groups of women. Continue reading