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Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC)


Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a type of breast cancer that does not have estrogen receptors, progesterone receptors, or the HER2 protein. These are the three most common targets for breast cancer treatment, so TNBC can be more difficult to treat than other types of breast cancer.


TNBC accounts for about 10-15% of all breast cancers. It is more common in younger women, Black women, and women with a BRCA1 mutation. TNBC tends to grow and spread faster than other types of breast cancer, and it has a worse prognosis.

Symptoms of TNBC

TNBC symptoms are the same as other more common breast cancers. TNBC symptoms may include:

  • A new lump or mass in the breast

  • Swelling in the breast

  • Dimpled skin on the breast

  • Nipple pain or retraction

  • Nipple or breast skin that is red, dry, or flaky

  • Nipple discharge that is not breast milk

  • Swollen lymph nodes under the arm or near the collarbone

Diagnosis of TNBC

The diagnosis of TNBC is made by examining a sample of the tumor tissue removed during a biopsy. The sample is tested to determine whether it is positive for estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, and HER2 protein expression. If the cancer cells test negative for all three of these markers, the cancer is considered to be TNBC.

Treatment of TNBC

One of the main treatment for TNBC is Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is the most common treatment for TNBC There have been significant advances in systemic therapies for TNBC, in recent years. An improved understanding of tumor biology has resulted in the identification of subsets of patients with specific molecular features, leading to testing and approval of multiple new targeted therapies for this disease. Furthermore, advances in drug development have led to the approval of antibody-drug conjugates that are redefining classification schemes for breast cancer. In the operable setting, efforts to improve the outcomes have focused on the escalation of systemic therapy and a shift toward preoperative delivery followed by a response-adapted approach to postoperative systemic therapy. In the inoperable setting, immunotherapy has emerged as a promising treatment option.


Other treatments for TNBC may include surgery, radiation therapy, and targeted therapy. Surgery is used to remove the tumor and any nearby lymph nodes. Radiation therapy is used to kill cancer cells that may remain after surgery. Targeted therapy is the use of drugs that target specific proteins or other molecules that are important for cancer cell growth.

Prognosis of TNBC

The prognosis for TNBC continues to improve thanks to recent progress in identifying new treatments like immunotherapy and PARP inhibitors. Medical researchers are finding new ways to use existing treatments. Like most cancers, the earlier healthcare providers diagnose triple-negative breast cancer, the better the prognosis. With early diagnosis, the 5-year survival rate is 91%, but rates are lower for people whose cancer has spread. If cancer has spread to distant parts of the body, the survival rate is much lower, around 12% 23.

Research on TNBC

Researchers are actively studying TNBC to develop new and more effective treatments. Some of the areas of research include:

  • New chemotherapy drugs and drug combinations

  • Targeted therapy drugs that target specific proteins or other molecules that are important for TNBC cell growth

  • Immunotherapy drugs that help the body's own immune system fight cancer

If you have been diagnosed with TNBC, talk to your doctor about the best treatment options for you. There are many resources available to help you and your family cope with TNBC, and there is hope for the future.


Conclusion of TNBC

TNBC is a rare form of invasive breast cancer that has no receptors for estrogen and progesterone hormones and HER2 protein expression. The diagnosis of TNBC is made by examining a sample of the tumor tissue removed during a biopsy. Chemotherapy is the most common treatment for TNBC. The prognosis for TNBC continues to improve thanks to recent progress in identifying new treatments like immunotherapy and PARP inhibitors.


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