Triple negative tumours: A critical review

The Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Centre, Institute of Cancer Research, London, UK.
Histopathology (Impact Factor: 3.45). 02/2008; 52(1):108-18. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2559.2007.02889.x
Source: PubMed


Breast cancer is a heterogeneous disease that encompasses several distinct entities with remarkably different biological characteristics and clinical behaviour. Currently, breast cancer patients are managed according to algorithms based on a constellation of clinical and histopathological parameters in conjunction with assessment of hormone receptor (oestrogen and progesterone receptor) status and HER2 overexpression/gene amplification. Although effective tailored therapies have been developed for patients with hormone receptor-positive or HER2+ disease, chemotherapy is the only modality of systemic therapy for patients with breast cancers lacking the expression of these markers (triple-negative cancers). Recent microarray expression profiling analyses have demonstrated that breast cancers can be systematically characterized into biologically and clinically meaningful groups. These studies have led to the re-discovery of basal-like breast cancers, which preferentially show a triple-negative phenotype. Both triple-negative and basal-like cancers preferentially affect young and African-American women, are of high histological grade and have more aggressive clinical behaviour. Furthermore, a significant overlap between the biological and clinical characteristics of sporadic triple-negative and basal-like cancers and breast carcinomas arising in BRCA1 mutation carriers has been repeatedly demonstrated. In this review, we critically address the characteristics of basal-like and triple-negative cancers, their similarities and differences, their response to chemotherapy as well as strategies for the development of novel therapeutic targets for these aggressive types of breast cancer. In addition, the possible mechanisms are discussed leading to BRCA1 pathway dysfunction in sporadic triple-negative and basal-like cancers and animal models for these tumour types.

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    • "The cancer suppressor gene BRCA1 is involved in the process of DNA damage repair, recombination, cell cycle, and transcription [16]. Intriguingly, BRCA1-mutated tumors are correlated with the basal-like phenotype [2] [17]. Moreover, it is believed that BRCA1 mutation accounts for the progress of hereditary breast cancers and is in connection with unique clinicopathological characteristics compared with sporadic breast cancers [18]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: More and more evidences demonstrate that androgen receptor (AR), epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), and breast cancer susceptibility gene 1 (BRCA1) have unique clinical implications for targeted therapy or prognosis in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). Therefore, we conducted a meta-analysis to summarize the possible associations. Methods: We retrieved published articles about AR, EGFR, and BRCA1 in TNBC from PubMed and EMBASE. The analysis was performed with Rev-Man 5.2 software. Results: A total of 38 articles were eligible for the meta-analysis. Our study showed that the expression level of EGFR (OR = 6.88, P < 0.00001) and the prevalence of BRCA1 mutation (RR = 5.26, P < 0.00001) were higher in TNBC than non-TNBC. In contrast, the expression level of AR was lower in TNBC than non-TNBC (OR = 0.07, P < 0.00001). In the subgroup related to EGFR expression, the level of EGFR expression was significantly increased in Asians (OR = 9.60) compared with Caucasians (OR = 5.53) for TNBC patients. Additionally, the prevalence of BRCA1 mutation in Asians (RR = 5.43, P < 0.00001) was higher than that in Caucasians (RR = 5.16, P < 0.00001). Conclusions: The distinct expression of AR and EGFR and the prevalence of BRCA1 mutation indicated that AR, EGFR, and BRCA1 might be unique biomarkers for targeted therapy and prognosis in TNBC.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2015 · BioMed Research International
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    • "Adjuvant Trastuzumab therapy, which specifically targets the HER2 receptor, is used to treat ERaÀ/PRÀ/HER2+ tumors and has resulted in positive survival outcomes. In contrast, the ERaÀ/PRÀ/HER2À subtype or triple negative breast cancer, which accounts for 10–17% of all breast cancer cases, and the normal breast-like (basal-like) cancer subtype, which accounts for 15% of the cases, are both without approved targeted therapies [61]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Nuclear receptors (NRs), a family of 48 transcriptional factors, have been studied intensively for their roles in cancer development and progression. The presence of distinctive ligand binding sites capable of interacting with small molecules has made NRs attractive targets for developing cancer therapeutics. In particular, a number of drugs have been developed over the years to target human androgen- and estrogen receptors for the treatment of prostate cancer and breast cancer. In contrast, orphan nuclear receptors (ONRs), which in many cases lack known biological functions or ligands, are still largely under investigated. This review is a summary on ONRs that have been implicated in prostate and breast cancers, specifically retinoic acid-receptor-related orphan receptors (RORs), liver X receptors (LXRs), chicken ovalbumin upstream promoter transcription factors (COUP-TFs), estrogen related receptors (ERRs), nerve growth factor 1B-like receptors, and "dosage-sensitive sex reversal, adrenal hypoplasia critical region, on chromosome X, gene 1" (DAX1). Discovery and development of small molecules that can bind at various functional sites on these ONRs will help determine their biological functions. In addition, these molecules have the potential to act as prototypes for future drug development. Ultimately, the therapeutic value of targeting the ONRs may go well beyond prostate and breast cancers.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · Cancer Treatment Reviews
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    • "The tumors tend to recur and generally they tend to have a poor outcome and a low overall survival compared to other tumors. The metastatic patterns of these tumors tend to be through blood and commonly involve lungs, brain and meninges [5,12-14]. This study presents a preliminary analysis of 52 cases of breast cancer for these markers in North-Western Tanzania. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Breast cancer is the second leading cancer worldwide. In Tanzania, though it ranks as the second leading cancer in women after cervical cancer, hormonal receptor status is not carried out routinely in patients. Adjuvant hormonal therapy is given without prior knowledge of hormonal receptors status and patients can incur unnecessary costs and side effects. This study was performed to investigate the expression of hormonal receptors, epidermal growth factor receptors (HER-2) and proliferation index of the breast cancer by Ki-67 in a few selected patients with breast cancer at referral hospital in North-Western Tanzania. The study classified breast cancer subtypes based on hormonal receptors status and the expression of epidermal growth factor receptors. Results A total of 52 cases of breast cancer were investigated. Patients’ mean age at diagnosis was 49 years. The majority of the tumors was invasive ductal carcinoma 47 (90.4%) and 40 (76.9%) were of histological grade III. Thirty-eight (73.1%) of the patient had lymph node metastasis at the time of diagnosis and 36 (69.2%) were at clinical stage III. Only 3 (5.8%) patients were in clinical stage I. There was a tendency of a low level of expression of the receptors, whereby Estrogen Receptor (ER) positive tumors were 17 (32.7%), progesterone receptor (PR) positive tumors were 22 (42.3%), and HER-2 positive tumors were 12 (23.1%). Triple negative tumors constituted 20 (38.4%) of the patients. Most of the tumors (75%) showed high proliferation by Ki-67. Lymph node metastasis was more common in Triple Negative and HER enriched tumors. Conclusion This study showed a tendency for a low level of expression of hormonal receptors. There was a significant proportion of Triple Negative breast cancers. Routine testing for hormonal receptors in breast cancer is recommended before the initiation of adjuvant hormonal therapy.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · BMC Research Notes
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