Triple-Negative Breast Cancer: 5 Questions to Ask

(DGIwire) – Certain types of breast cancer have more treatment options than others with today’s standard of care. Anyone who has been diagnosed with one variant of this disease—known as triple-negative breast cancer—or who knows someone who does, is bound to have many questions. Although a qualified healthcare practitioner must be consulted for authoritative answers, there are some basic insights that everyone should know.

  • What is triple-negative breast cancer? If breast cancer cells test negative for estrogen receptors, progesterone receptors and HER2 receptors—they are triple-negative, notes the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Since the tumor cells lack these receptors, common treatments such as hormone therapy and drugs that target estrogen, progesterone and HER-2 are ineffective.
  • Who is at risk for triple-negative breast cancer? This form of breast cancer occurs in about 10 to 20 percent of diagnoses and is more likely to affect younger people, the National Breast Cancer Foundation reports. In addition, when people with a gene mutation called BRCA1 develop breast cancer, it is more likely to be triple-negative.
  • What is the prognosis for triple-negative breast cancer? Triple negative breast cancer can be more aggressive and difficult to treat than other forms. Also, the cancer is more likely to spread and recur. The stage of breast cancer and the grade of the tumor will influence the prognosis, according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
  • What are some of the current treatments for triple-negative breast cancer? It is typically treated with a combination of therapies such as surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, although new treatments are being studied, according to
  • What cutting-edge therapies aim to address triple-negative breast cancer? “Studies of therapies that act selectively on cancer cells are being conducted to investigate treatment for this hard-to-treat cancer,” says Peter D. Suzdak, Ph.D., CEO of Rexahn Pharmaceuticals. “Results to date have been encouraging for those searching for novel treatments.”

Rexahn is currently studying a compound named RX-5902 against triple negative breast cancer. This compound binds to a key protein that is also found primarily in tumor cells and only in very small amounts in normal tissue. By doing so, RX-5902 turns off cancer genes, resulting in a decrease in cancer cell growth and metastases and an increase in the body’s immune system’s ability to fight cancer.

“The goal of research today is to provide a wider selection of treatment options for triple-negative breast cancer, which may involve fewer side effects and provide a higher quality of life,” Dr. Suzdak adds.