Triple Negative Breast Cancer

Posted Thursday, October 4, 2018

Did You Know? TNBC has a higher recurrence during the first 5 years.

15-20% of Breast Cancers are Triple Negative Breast Cancer  

Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) is an Aggressive, Difficult-to-Treat Cancer

Triple negative breast cancer is a type of breast cancer that does not have any of the receptors commonly found in breast cancer. Breast cancer cells typically have three types of receptors – one for estrogen, one for progesterone, and one for HER2. Please use this guide as a resource for knowledge and understanding of TNBC causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment.  

01│CausesTriple negative breast cancer can affect anyone; however, there is a higher risk for the following:

  • Younger people – TNBC is more likely to occur in women ages 40-50, which is younger than the average age of diagnosis across other forms of breast cancer.
  • African American & Hispanic Women – Asian and non-Hispanic white women are less likely to develop TNBC. Black women are 3 times more likely to develop TNBC than white women.
  • People with BRCA1 mutation – When people with an inherited BRCA1 mutation develop breast cancer, especially before age 50, it is usually found to be TNBC. 

02│SymptomsTriple negative breast cancer does not look different from other breast cancer. However, it has several unique characteristics, including:

  • Receptor status – tests to detect receptors for estrogen, progesterone and HER2 will be negative.
  • More aggressive – There is a greater tendency to spread and recur after treatment compared to other breast cancers.
  • Cell type and grade – TNBC tends to resemble basal cells lining the breast ducts. The cells may also be higher grade, no longer resembling normal, healthy cells.

03│TreatmentTNBC is usually treated with a combination of therapies including surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Often, patients must first have the lump removed, and in some cases the entire breast. After surgery, chemotherapy will be performed to target any cancer cells remaining in the body. Radiation therapy is often indicated as well, which uses high energy radiation to kill any remaining cancer cells.  04│OutlookEven though TNBC doesn’t typically respond to hormone therapy, new medications called poly ADP-ribose polymerase (PARP) inhibitors are offering researchers hope.    For more information on breast cancer and TNBC, please visit:

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