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Ann Oncol. 2010 Oct;21 Suppl 7:vii30-5. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdq279.

Treatment of triple-negative metastatic breast cancer: toward individualized targeted treatments or chemosensitization?

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Department of Medical Oncology and INSERM Unit U981, Institut Gustave Roussy, Villejuif, France.


Triple-negative [estrogen receptor (ER)-/progesterone receptor (PR)-/HER2-] breast cancers account for ~15% of overall breast cancers. Triple-negative breast cancers demonstrate a panel of specific molecular alterations including a high rate of p53 mutations, frequent loss of function of BRCA1, phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) loss and a specific panel of tyrosine kinase activation [fibroblast growth factor receptor 2 (FGFR2)]. This molecular entity is considered as sensitive to chemotherapy in the adjuvant setting. When metastatic, the disease is usually aggressive and drug resistant, leading to cancer death within 18 months for the majority of patients. There is no evidence from randomized trials that triple-negative breast cancers have a different sensitivity to specific chemotherapy compared with other molecular classes. Similar findings have been reported for bevacizumab. Several recent research efforts have focused on this entity in the last few years. DNA alkylating agents have shown promising activity in the neoadjuvant setting, but no evidence from a phase III trial currently supports its use. Several targeted therapies are also being successfully developed. Poly(ADP ribose) polymerase 1 (PARP1) inhibitors induce tumor response as a single agent in BRCA1-mutated breast cancer, and could sensitize cisplatin in the whole triple negative population. Several other targeted agents are being developed in this setting, including epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), FGFR2, mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) and NOTCH inhibitors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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