Inoperable Breast Cancer Is Often Still Treatable
Stage 3C breast cancer is divided into operable and inoperable stage 3C breast cancer. However, the term inoperable is not the same as untreatable.
If your physician uses the word inoperable, it may simply mean that a simple surgery at this time would not be enough to get rid of all the breast cancer that is within the breast and the tissue around the breast. There must be healthy tissue at all of the margins of the breast when it is removed. Keep in mind that the breast tissue goes beyond the breast mound it goes up to the clavicle and down to a few inches below the breast mound. There must also be tissue to close the chest wound after the surgery is performed.
Another treatment method may be used first to shrink the breast cancer as much as possible before surgery is considered.
Also Check: Treatment For Malignant Neoplasm Of Breast
How Common Is Tnbc
About 15-20 percent of all breast cancers are TNBC or basal-like tumors .
TNBC tends to occur more often in :
- Younger women
- People with an BRCA1 inherited gene mutation
- Black, non-Hispanic Black and African American women
TNBC may also be more common among Hispanic women compared to non-Hispanic white women .
New Medications For Metastatic Breast Cancer
Immunotherapy drugs called checkpoint inhibitors have led to a significant improvement in survival rates for lung cancer and melanoma.
In 2019, Tecentriq became the first immunotherapy drug to be approved for triple-negative breast cancer that is metastatic or locally advanced but unresectable . However, in August 2021, Tecentriq’s manufacturer voluntarily withdrew that indication in the United States.
However, also in 2021, the Food and Drug Administration approved Keytruda for high-risk, early-stage, triple-negative breast cancer. It is used in combination with chemotherapy as a neoadjuvant treatment , and then continued as a single agent as adjuvant treatment .
PARP inhibitors are another class of medication that may alter survival rates in the future, particularly among women who have hereditary breast cancer .
For bone metastases, bone-modifying drugs may be effective in both treating metastases and possibly reducing the development of further metastases in bone.
Finally, for people who have only a single or a few metastases , treating these metastases locally may be an option. While studies are young, treating oligometastases may improve survival or even lead to long-term survival for a minority of people.
Read Also: What Happens After Breast Cancer Diagnosis
Stages Of Breast Cancer
The stage of breast cancer is based on the size and location of the tumor, as well as whether the cancer has spread beyond the part of the breast in which it originated. To determine the stage of breast cancer, healthcare professionals use a scale of stage 0 to stage 4.
Stage 0 breast cancers are isolated in one part of the breast, such as a duct or lobule, and show no sign of spreading into other tissue.
Stage 1 is typically localized, although further local growth or spread may cause the cancer to move into stage 2.
In stage 3, the cancer may be larger and has affected the lymph system. Stage 4 cancer has spread beyond the breast and nearby lymph nodes, and into other organs and tissues of the body.
In addition to stages, breast cancers are given grades based on the size, shape, and activity of the cells in the tumor. A higher-grade cancer means a greater percentage of cells look and act abnormal, or they no longer resemble normal, healthy cells.
On a scale of 1 to 3, with 3 being the most serious, TNBC is often labeled grade 3.
American Cancer Society , the symptoms of TNBC can be the same as those for other types of breast cancer. ACS recommends regular screenings such as mammograms to detect breast cancer before symptoms appear, the time when treatment is most effective.
Other signs of breast cancer include:
Any of these signs can be caused by other conditions. But it is always good to have them checked out by your healthcare professional.
- radiation therapy
Treatment Options For Triple
Typically, triple-negative breast cancer patients will receive a combination of surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
Research shows that survival rates are higher when chemotherapy is used to shrink the tumor before surgery. Doing chemotherapy before surgery usually means fewer cancer cells in the body at the time time of surgery. This makes it less likely for cancer cells to spread to other areas of the body during the surgery.
Another option to treat triple-negative breast cancer is using drugs that inhibit the poly ADP-ribose polymerase enzyme. Particularly in patients that also test positive for BRCA mutation, PARP inhibitors make it harder for the cancer cells to survive.
Finally, a combination of immunotherapy and chemotherapy may treat advanced triple-negative breast cancer that tested positive for the PD-L1 protein. Immunotherapy helps the patients immune system work harder to fight the cancer cells, in this case also fighting the PD-L1 protein.
If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer, request an appointment to meet with one of our breast cancer specialists located in the Denver area, Colorado Springs, Boulder, and other areas throughout the Colorado Front Range. We are also happy to quickly schedule a second opinion to help you with making the cancer treatment decision youre confident in.
Also Check: Mbc Metastatic Breast Cancer
What Is The Estrogen Receptor And How Is It Linked To Breast Cancer
On the surface of cancer cells is a specialized receptor called estrogen, which acts as a hand, consuming hormones from the body and using them as fuel to thrive. TNBC can survive without these receptors because it has a whole new survival mechanism. Estrogen receptor and progesterone receptor are predictive markers for invasive breast cancer, especially within five years of initial diagnosis.
Sample Type And Sample Size Required
The minimum sample size required was calculated before data collection for the primary objective with the following assumptions: statistical significance level p< 0.05, targeted statistical power of 80%, eight prognostic factors , and minimum partial coefficient of determination considered clinically relevant R20.10. Under these assumptions, a sample size of 144 patients was finally required. Given the retrospective nature of the study, we expected that 15% of patients would have missing data on the primary outcome and at least one of the eight prognostic factors. Therefore, we decided to increase the number of enrolled patients to 170.
Recommended Reading: 3b Breast Cancer
What Is The Staging Of Triple
Staging is the process of determining the extent of cancer and its spread in the body. Together with the type of cancer, staging helps determine the appropriate therapy and predict the chances for survival.
To determine if cancer has spread, medical professionals may use several different imaging techniques, including X-ray, CT scans, bone scans, and PET scans. Staging depends upon the size of a tumor and the extent to which it spread to lymph nodes or distant sites and organs in the body. Examination of lymph nodes removed at surgery and the results of ER, PR, and HER2 tests performed on the tumor tissue also help determine the stage of a tumor.
- The American Cancer Society defines 4 stages of breast cancer.
- Stage I is the lowest stage, while stage IV is the highest stage and refers to tumors that have metastasized, or spread to areas distant from the breast.
Most doctors specifically adjust breast cancer treatments to the type of cancer and the staging group.
Many women with breast cancer will require surgery. Broadly, the surgical therapies for breast cancer consist of breast-conserving surgery and mastectomy .
Radiation therapy destroys cancer cells with high-energy rays. Doctors commonly administer radiation therapy to patients after breast cancer surgery, most commonly after lumpectomy.
Types of chemotherapy include the following:
Other therapies for triple-negative breast cancer
The Latest Progress In Research On Triple Negative Breast Cancer : Risk Factors Possible Therapeutic Targets And Prognostic Markers
Qingli Jiao1, Aiguo Wu1, Guoli Shao1, Haoyu Peng2, Mengchuan Wang1, Shufeng Ji1, Peng Liu3, Jian Zhang1
1 Department of General Surgery, Zhujiang Hospital, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou 510515, China Department of Oncology, Nanfang Hospital, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou 510515, China Department of Breast Oncology, Cancer Center, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
Abstract: Triple negative breast cancer is one type of breast cancer , which is defined as negative for estrogen receptor , progesterone receptor and human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 . Its origins and development seem to be elusive. And for now, drugs like tamoxifen or trastuzumab which specifically apply to ER, PR or Her2 positive BC seem unforeseeable in TNBC clinical treatment. Due to its extreme malignancy, high recurrence rate and poor prognosis, a lot of work on the research of TNBC is needed. This review aims to summarize the latest findings in TNBC in risk factors, possible therapeutic targets and possible prognostic makers.
Keywords: Triple negative breast cancer risk factor therapeutic target prognostic marker
Submitted Apr 14, 2014. Accepted for publication Jul 28, 2014.
Also Check: Estrogen And Progesterone Positive Breast Cancer Prognosis
How Life Expectancy And Relapse Differ From Positive Tumors
Doru Paul, MD, is triple board-certified in medical oncology, hematology, and internal medicine. He is an associate professor of clinical medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College and attending physician in the Department of Hematology and Oncology at the New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center.
Questions about the survival rate and recurrence rate are very common when someone is diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer. While prognosis is, on average, poorer than with hormone receptor or human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 positive tumors, triple-negative breast cancer is a very diverse disease.
On a positive note, and unlike hormone-positive tumors that commonly recur late , late recurrence is less common with triple-negative tumors. The recent approval of immunotherapy only for triple-negative disease is also optimistic.
This article looks at factors that may affect survival or recurrence of triple-negative breast cancer, as well as the statistical rates of both. It also discusses life expectancy with stage 4 and recent case reports of some longtime survivors.
Survival Rates For Triple
Triple-negative breast cancer is considered an aggressive cancer because it grows quickly, is more likely to have spread at the time its found, and is more likely to come back after treatment than other types of breast cancer. The outlook is generally not as good as it is for other types of breast cancer.
Survival rates can give you an idea of what percentage of people with the same type and stage of cancer are still alive a certain amount of time after they were diagnosed. They cant tell you how long you will live, but they may help give you a better understanding of how likely it is that your treatment will be successful.
Keep in mind that survival rates are estimates and are often based on previous outcomes of large numbers of people who had a specific cancer, but they cant predict what will happen in any particular persons case. These statistics can be confusing and may lead you to have more questions. Talk with your doctor about how these numbers may apply to you, as he or she is familiar with your situation.
Also Check: Stage 3 Cancer In Lymph Nodes
Er Pr Her2 And Ihc Subtypes
Information on ER, PR and HER2 status was obtained from pathology reports for the whole study period . From 2005 to January 2010, tumours were classified as ER negative if < 10% ER expression, and from February 2010 onwards if < 1% ER expression. PR-negative tumours were defined as < 10% PR expression throughout the study period. HER2 expression was routinely assessed with IHC and verified with in situ hybridization if the IHC results were borderline. We created six IHC subtypes: ER+PR+HER2, ER+PRHER2, ER+PR+HER2+, ER+PRHER2+, ERPRHER2+ and ERPRHER2 . Women with the rarer combinations ERPR+HER2 or ERPR+HER2+ were set to missing in the analysis . In total, n =21,786 women had known IHC subtype, while n =2351 women lacked information on ER, PR or HER2 status .
Table 1 Clinicopathologic characteristics by IHC subtype for women with invasive breast cancer, Norway 20052015 age 2074 years
Pathological And Molecular Characterization Of Triple Negative Breast Cancer
As a distinct molecular entity, TNBCs appear to be quite heterogeneous at a histopathological level. They frequently show features of ductal invasive carcinomas although metaplastic, medullary and apocrine features are also found . Moreover, TNBCs may present themselves as adenoid cystic lesions, histiocytoid carcinomas and even as invasive lobular carcinomas . A relatively large number of breast cancers that do not exhibit a basal phenotype appeared to have a triple-negative profile . Therefore, from a morphological and molecular point of view, TNBC may somehow be classified into four main categories that include the normal-like and the apocrine subtypes . It appears that some histopathological features of breast cancer such as pleomorphic lobular carcinoma and mixed ductal-lobular carcinoma exhibit a triple-negative molecular profile . Also, most invasive carcinomas that develop from microglandular adenosis areas are in fact triple-negative tumors . Recent studies have shown that metaplastic carcinomas are usually TNBCs . Metaplastic carcinomas are known to be rare, aggressive diseases of the breast that are usually diagnosed at grade 3 and, similar to TNBCs, have no specific therapeutic guidelines .
Don’t Miss: Is Stage 4 Breast Cancer Curable
What Is The Treatment For Triple
Chemotherapy.Chemotherapy is almost always called for, Sun says. Chemo can downstage tumors . While Sun says the chemotherapy for triple-negative breast cancer can be intense, she adds that regimen can be tailored to the individual and adjusted for older or frailer patients.
In those cases where we get complete response, we know we gave you the right medicine and your prognosis is good, Sun says.
Surgery can remove more of the tumor. Surgery for triple-negative breast cancer does not always have to be a mastectomy, Sun says. Effective chemotherapy done first opens up the possibility of less-invasive surgical options that are less of an ordeal for the patient. If the tumor is small enough after chemo, outpatient procedures or a lumpectomy may be possible.
Surgical samples of the cancerous tissues taken from surgery can provide more information on the cancer and how it is behaving so chemotherapy can be tailored accordingly.
Radiation therapy involves the use beams of radiation to destroy cancer cells, using various techniques to prevent damage to healthy surrounding tissue.
Medical treatments are being tested on triple-negative breast tumors in clinical trials.
Immunotherapy and PARP inhibitors are very exciting and theres lots of research going on, including here at Johns Hopkins, Sun says.
Exposure To Chemicals And Drugs
Females who have been exposed to dreadful carcinogenic chemicals are at higher risk of breast cancer and epigenetic alterations and mutations. Exposure and duration of exposure contribute to an increased risk of breast cancer mutagenesis . Exposure of mammary glands to polychlorinated biphenyl and dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane chemicals increases the risk of breast cancer . Furthermore, continuous exposure to organic solvents, insecticides, and oil mist increases the risk of breast cancer . Antibiotics, statins, antidepressants, and antihypertensive drugs can increase the risk of breast cancer. Similarly, NSAIDs that contain aspirin and ibuprofen are considered major risk factors for breast cancer .
Don’t Miss: Chest Cancer In Female
Brca And Homologous Recombination Deficiency
The prevalence of BRCA mutations is reported in up to 20%-30% of unselected TNBC patients. Poly polymerase inhibitors exploit this deficiency through synthetic lethality and have emerged as a therapeutic strategy in these patients. These agents have demonstrated efficacy in patients with BRCA-mutant metastatic breast cancer, prompting investigators to evaluate their role in the neoadjuvant setting. In unselected TNBC patients, the addition of veliparib to platinum-based chemotherapy failed to increase the pCR rate. In another study, the addition of olaparib to paclitaxel was not superior to carboplatin/paclitaxel in patients with HER2-negative breast cancer with a BRCA1/2 mutation. However, early phase II data using single-agent neoadjuvant talazoparib demonstrated an excellent pCR rate of 53% in patients with germline BRCA pathogenic variants. A single-arm pilot study with neoadjuvant Niraparib also demonstrated antitumor activity in patients with localized HER2-negative breast cancer with a BRCA1/2 mutation. The tumor response rate was 90.5% as assessed by MRI but pCR rates have not yet been reported. Survival outcomes from these studies are pending validation of these findings in larger cohorts and may represent an opportunity to de-escalate neoadjuvant treatment to a chemotherapy-free targeted regimen in carefully selected patients.
Basal Cell Breast Cancer
Basal cell breast cancer is a type of breast cancer with a clear pattern of changes in proteins in the cells.
Cancer doctors recognise basal cell breast cancer when they examine the cancer cells under a microscope. It is often linked with triple negative breast cancer.
Basal cell breast cancers are usually triple negative. And most triple negative breast cancers are basal cell cancers. They are similar types of breast cancer, but not exactly the same.
The symptoms of triple negative breast cancer are the same as for other breast cancer types.
Don’t Miss: How Bad Is Stage 3 Cancer
Regional Recurrence Within Three Years Carries A Less Favorable Prognosis But Overall Survival Statistics Are Still Good
Generally speaking, if the breast cancer returns regionally lymph nodes) within the first five years following original treatment, the overall likelihood of survival is thought to be somewhat poorer.
Five-year overall survival after an isolated chest wall recurrence is 68% and after intra-breast recurrence it is 81%.
In one 2010 medical research study, the ten year overall survival rate was estimated at 84% for women without recurrence. However, this figure goes down to 49% for women with a locoregional recurrence and 72% for women with a second primary tumour.
A large 2015 study examined the impact of the time of the disease free interval on survival rates. For women with a locoregional recurrence that happened in the first 18 months, the ten year overall survival rate is around 30%. The overall 10 year survival rate for those whose recurrence happened within 3 years goes up to 50%. Furthermore, for those who suffered a recurrence after 3 years the ten year overall survival rate increases to 70%.
This recent study clearly demonstrates that the longer the time span since the primary prognosis and treatment to the recurrence, the better the long-term prognosis.
The rate of distance breast cancer metastasis and overall survival is most favorable for women in which the recurrence occurred locally and after five years.
However, women with a same-breast recurrence within five years have a distant metastasis rate of about 61%, which are slightly poorer odds.