Breakthroughs: what is more prudent for Triple Negative Breast Cancer

April 25, 2013

Triple negative breast cancer; one of hardest to overcome.  Until recently, most patients fighting TN breast cancer were given the chemotherapy drugs used for all breast cancer; where it would soon become resistant to the drugs, giving it the opportunity to spread.

Most TNBC patients found, if lucky enough to get a response, would see a recurrence appear. The recurrent cancer sites would be far more resistant and little stopped the spread.

A new study shows there may be a more effective way to treat TNBC giving patients a better chance of survival.  Targeting the fast growing cancer cells first; after a positive response to chemo a small population of slower growing cells [ cancer stem-like cells ] survive then regenerate or replicate, causing recurrent metastatic tumors. The study shows drugs that block  TGF-b signaling pathway in  the recurrent cancer cells will enhance the  effect of chemotherapy; thereby may prevent recurrent TNBC due to its treatment resistance.

Perhaps, even as we see this discovery as being a breakthrough, one may want to look closely at some new breakthroughs in the alternative cancer treatments.  Whether a cancer cell is HER2 positive or Triple negative; a treatment that kills cancer cells without discrimination will effectively fight it.  The ‘do no harm’ first approach may be in the case of difficult to treat cancers be the most prudent way to go.   Resistant type cancers like the TNBC, make patients subject themselves to more types of chemo drugs trying to fight the metastases; giving them more opportunity to develop serious side effects that could ultimately diminish their quality of life. This could be the reason TNBC patients lose their fight early. Logically, in these cases the patients are losing their battle due to the chemo side effects not the cancer itself.  Would using a ‘do not harm’ make absolute sense?  It is time the approach to treating TNBC be separate from HER2 positive cancers. TNBC and Hormonal cancers are not the same.










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