Pre-surgery chemotherapy improves survival in triple-negative breast cancer

By Paul Basilio, MDLinx
Published July 28, 2017

Key Takeaways

An Italian study recently confirmed that improvements were achieved in short- and long-term survival in patients with triple-negative breast cancer who received neoadjuvant chemotherapy prior to surgery. The study was published in the Journal of Cellular Physiology.

The study involved 213 patients at 8 Italian cancer centers. The patients had diagnoses characterized by clinical, molecular, and therapeutic features of triple-negative breast cancer. Researchers included a multidisciplinary team of Italian-American scientists that have long collaborated with Antonio Giordano, MD, PhD, Director of the Sbarro Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine at Temple University in Philadelphia.

“Triple-negative breast cancers account for about 10% to 15% of breast cancer cases,” said co-author Maddalena Barba, MD, PhD, Researcher at the IRCCS Regina Elena National Cancer Institute of Rome. “Their aggressive behavior is well exemplified by the large tumor volume at presentation, along with the quite frequent involvement of regional lymph nodes, and high histological grade.”

According to co-author Patrizia Vici, MD, Clinical Researcher at the Division of Medical Oncology 2 of the IRCCS Regina Elena National Cancer Institute, there are currently no approved targeted therapies for triple-negative breast cancers.

“Chemotherapy remains the mainstay of treatment. When compared with other and more frequent breast cancer subtypes, these tumors show higher chemosensitivity, especially when chemotherapy is administered prior to surgery,” she said.  

This study confirms findings from previous randomized clinical trials regarding the advantage conferred by more than 6 cycles of a well characterized regimen of neoadjuvant chemotherapy—the sequential anthracycline-taxane regimen.

“In addition, we confirmed the predictive role of some features related to the disease and its potential spread, namely Ki-67 absolute value and its relative measures, on treatment outcomes. Our work on triple negative breast cancer is thus confirmative in nature,” Dr. Giordano said. “I would strongly underline the need for this sort of confirmative evidence to implement the scientific knowledge stemming from large, well designed and absolutely needed randomized clinical trials. Indeed, breast cancer patients who participate in these trials are selected on the basis of well codified demographic, clinical, and molecular characteristics, which do not necessarily reflect those of patients from the real-world setting who represent the final recipients of our gains in cancer-related knowledge.”

For more information about this study, click here.

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