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      Triple-negative breast cancer: treatment challenges and solutions

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          Abstract

          Triple-negative breast cancers (TNBCs) are defined by the absence of estrogen and progesterone receptors and the absence of HER2 overexpression. These cancers represent a heterogeneous breast cancer subtype with a poor prognosis. Few systemic treatment options exist besides the use of chemotherapy (CT). The heterogeneity of the disease has limited the successful development of targeted therapy in unselected patient populations. Currently, there are no approved targeted therapies for TNBC. However, intense research is ongoing to identify specific targets and develop additional and better systemic treatment options. Standard adjuvant and neoadjuvant regimens include anthracyclines, cyclophosphamide, and taxanes. Platinum-based CT has been proposed as another CT option of interest in TNBC. We review the role of this therapy in general, and particularly in patients carrying BRCA germ-line mutations. Available data concerning the role of platinum-based CT in TNBC were acquired primarily in the neoadjuvant setting. The routine use of platinum-based CT is not yet recommended by available guidelines. Many studies have reported the molecular characterization of TNBCs. Several actionable targets have been identified. Novel therapeutic strategies are currently being tested in clinical trials based on promising results observed in preclinical studies. These targets include androgen receptor, EGFR, PARP, FGFR, and the angiogenic pathway. We review the recent data on experimental drugs in this field. We also discuss the recent data concerning immunologic checkpoint inhibitors.

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          Most cited references 48

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          Pathological complete response and long-term clinical benefit in breast cancer: the CTNeoBC pooled analysis.

          Pathological complete response has been proposed as a surrogate endpoint for prediction of long-term clinical benefit, such as disease-free survival, event-free survival (EFS), and overall survival (OS). We had four key objectives: to establish the association between pathological complete response and EFS and OS, to establish the definition of pathological complete response that correlates best with long-term outcome, to identify the breast cancer subtypes in which pathological complete response is best correlated with long-term outcome, and to assess whether an increase in frequency of pathological complete response between treatment groups predicts improved EFS and OS. We searched PubMed, Embase, and Medline for clinical trials of neoadjuvant treatment of breast cancer. To be eligible, studies had to meet three inclusion criteria: include at least 200 patients with primary breast cancer treated with preoperative chemotherapy followed by surgery; have available data for pathological complete response, EFS, and OS; and have a median follow-up of at least 3 years. We compared the three most commonly used definitions of pathological complete response--ypT0 ypN0, ypT0/is ypN0, and ypT0/is--for their association with EFS and OS in a responder analysis. We assessed the association between pathological complete response and EFS and OS in various subgroups. Finally, we did a trial-level analysis to assess whether pathological complete response could be used as a surrogate endpoint for EFS or OS. We obtained data from 12 identified international trials and 11 955 patients were included in our responder analysis. Eradication of tumour from both breast and lymph nodes (ypT0 ypN0 or ypT0/is ypN0) was better associated with improved EFS (ypT0 ypN0: hazard ratio [HR] 0·44, 95% CI 0·39-0·51; ypT0/is ypN0: 0·48, 0·43-0·54) and OS (0·36, 0·30-0·44; 0·36, 0·31-0·42) than was tumour eradication from the breast alone (ypT0/is; EFS: HR 0·60, 95% CI 0·55-0·66; OS 0·51, 0·45-0·58). We used the ypT0/is ypN0 definition for all subsequent analyses. The association between pathological complete response and long-term outcomes was strongest in patients with triple-negative breast cancer (EFS: HR 0·24, 95% CI 0·18-0·33; OS: 0·16, 0·11-0·25) and in those with HER2-positive, hormone-receptor-negative tumours who received trastuzumab (EFS: 0·15, 0·09-0·27; OS: 0·08, 0·03, 0·22). In the trial-level analysis, we recorded little association between increases in frequency of pathological complete response and EFS (R(2)=0·03, 95% CI 0·00-0·25) and OS (R(2)=0·24, 0·00-0·70). Patients who attain pathological complete response defined as ypT0 ypN0 or ypT0/is ypN0 have improved survival. The prognostic value is greatest in aggressive tumour subtypes. Our pooled analysis could not validate pathological complete response as a surrogate endpoint for improved EFS and OS. US Food and Drug Administration. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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            Tumor-associated lymphocytes as an independent predictor of response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy in breast cancer.

            PURPOSE Preclinical data suggest a contribution of the immune system to chemotherapy response. In this study, we investigated the prespecified hypothesis that the presence of a lymphocytic infiltrate in cancer tissue predicts the response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy. METHODS We investigated intratumoral and stromal lymphocytes in a total of 1,058 pretherapeutic breast cancer core biopsies from two neoadjuvant anthracycline/taxane-based studies (GeparDuo, n = 218, training cohort; and GeparTrio, n = 840, validation cohort). Molecular parameters of lymphocyte recruitment and activation were evaluated by kinetic polymerase chain reaction in 134 formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tumor samples. Results In a multivariate regression analysis including all known predictive clinicopathologic factors, the percentage of intratumoral lymphocytes was a significant independent parameter for pathologic complete response (pCR) in both cohorts (training cohort: P = .012; validation cohort: P = .001). Lymphocyte-predominant breast cancer responded, with pCR rates of 42% (training cohort) and 40% (validation cohort). In contrast, those tumors without any infiltrating lymphocytes had pCR rates of 3% (training cohort) and 7% (validation cohort). The expression of inflammatory marker genes and proteins was linked to the histopathologic infiltrate, and logistic regression showed a significant association of the T-cell-related markers CD3D and CXCL9 with pCR. CONCLUSION The presence of tumor-associated lymphocytes in breast cancer is a new independent predictor of response to anthracycline/taxane neoadjuvant chemotherapy and provides useful information for oncologists to identify a subgroup of patients with a high benefit from this type of chemotherapy.
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              Tailoring therapies—improving the management of early breast cancer: St Gallen International Expert Consensus on the Primary Therapy of Early Breast Cancer 2015

              The 14th St Gallen International Breast Cancer Conference (2015) reviewed new evidence on locoregional and systemic therapies for early breast cancer. This manuscript presents news and progress since the 2013 meeting, provides expert opinion on almost 200 questions posed to Consensus Panel members, and summarizes treatment-oriented classification of subgroups and treatment recommendations.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Breast Cancer (Dove Med Press)
                Breast Cancer (Dove Med Press)
                Breast Cancer: Targets and Therapy
                Breast Cancer : Targets and Therapy
                Dove Medical Press
                1179-1314
                2016
                20 May 2016
                : 8
                : 93-107
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Medical Oncology Department, CHU Sart Tilman Liege, Domaine Universitaire du Sart Tilman, Liege, Belgium
                [2 ]University of Liege, Liege, Belgium
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Guy Jerusalem, Medical Oncology, Domaine Universitaire du Sart Tilman, Bâtiment B35, Liège 4000, Belgium, Tel +32 4 366 7111, Email g.jerusalem@ 123456chu.ulg.ac.be
                Article
                bctt-8-093
                10.2147/BCTT.S69488
                4881925
                27284266
                © 2016 Collignon et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

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