What Treatment Options are Available?
Triple negative breast cancers cannot be treated with estrogen-blocking medications (e.g., Tamoxifen or Arimidex) that block the estrogen receptor and progesterone receptor proteins. They are also not treatable with Herceptin, a drug that has proven helpful in treating breast cancers that possess excess amounts of the HER2 receptor protein. Thus, the only remaining treatment options are surgery and standard chemotherapy drugs. While chemotherapy is effective for many triple negative breast cancers, some triple negative cancers are resistant to standard chemotherapy medications or quickly come back after chemotherapy is completed.
Given the limited effectiveness that current chemotherapy treatments have against triple negative breast cancers, several important clinical trials are now underway to find more effective ways to treat this breast cancer. Clinical trials are research studies that combine standard breast cancer treatments with newer treatments with the goal of making the overall treatment more effective. While several clinical trials are showing promise in substantially reducing triple negative breast cancer tumors, there still exists a great need for more research on effective treatment of triple negative breast cancer.