If you are diagnosed with breast cancer, your doctor will collect and use information about your tumor to determine what treatment options are available. For example, if your tumor contains any of the tumor targets (ER, PR, HER2), there are targeted therapies available for treating the tumor.
Treatment of triple-negative breast cancer is more challenging than other breast cancer types because triple-negative breast cancer lacks the protein targets (ER, PR, HER2) that normally help doctors deliver treatments specifically to the cancer. Because of this challenge, doctors often use a three-pronged approach to treatment, including surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, as well as potentially consider the use of investigational triple-negative breast cancer treatments in clinical trials.
For more detailed information on breast cancer and treatments, take some time to read the National Comprehensive Cancer Network’s® (NCCN) guidelines for patients. The NCCN is a not-for-profit alliance of 23 of the world’s leading cancer centers.
Like other breast cancers, triple-negative breast cancer treatment generally begins with the surgical removal of the cancer. This can be accomplished by either lumpectomy (removal of the tumor and surrounding tissues) or mastectomy (partial or complete removal of the breast).
Following surgery, treatment for triple-negative breast cancer, like other breast cancers, often involves radiation with the goal of killing any remaining cancer cells in the breast itself after surgery.
Following surgery and radiation, chemotherapy drugs are often given intravenously or orally. Once the drugs enter the bloodstream, they travel to all parts of the body in order to reach cancer cells that may have spread beyond the breast. Chemotherapy is therefore considered a “systemic” form of breast cancer treatment.
Like other breast cancers, triple-negative breast cancer chemotherapy is given in cycles of treatment, followed by a recovery period. The entire chemotherapy treatment generally lasts several months to one year, depending on the type of drugs given or how well the drugs are tolerated by the patient.
Although chemotherapy can be highly effective with some types of cancers, it can be less effective in others. Further, the more advanced your disease, the more difficult it becomes to treat your cancer. For these reasons and others, many patients will turn to clinical trials evaluating investigational triple-negative breast cancer treatments.
Clinical trials are health-related research studies to evaluate investigational medical treatments and therapies in people. You can learn more about the METRIC Study below, or about other triple-negative breast cancer clinical trials at clinicaltrials.gov.
Doctors are conducting the METRIC Study to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of glembatumumab vedotin (CDX-011) in patients diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. More than 250 patients with breast cancer or melanoma have received glembatumumab vedotin in prior research studies. Study results in both types of cancer support further testing of glembatumumab vedotin, particularly in patients with triple-negative breast cancer. If you have been diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer that has spread beyond the original tumor, we hope that you will consider learning more about the METRIC Study. To find a study location near you to see if you may qualify, visit clinicaltrials.gov.
The information on this website is provided for educational purposes only and is not meant to be a substitute for the advice of a physician or other health care professional.