What is triple-negative breast cancer?
Triple-Negative breast cancer is a type of breast cancer which can be more difficult to treat and hence has a worse prognosis than other types of breast cancer.
Why is it more difficult to treat?
Triple-negative means 3 genes used for breast cancer treatment: HER2, ER and PR are all negative. In this scenario negative means the patient is far less likely to benefit from treatments which target these genes including hormonal treatments. Trastuzumab, which is also commonly used in breast cancer, cannot be used to treat triple-negative patients. Additionally, the risk of relapse is higher.
What does this mean for Indian patients?
According to internal data from Positive Bioscience, triple-negative breast cases in India is far higher than the western world. In the west, typically 15-20% of breast cancer patients will be triple-negative. In India, from our internal estimates anywhere between 30-40% of breast cancer patients are triple-negative. Unfortunately, if this data is correct, it means a higher percentage of Indian patients will fall in this category.
How does BRCA testing help?
~70% of breast cancer patients with a BRCA1 (germline) gene mutation get triple-negative breast cancer. As we believe India has a much higher percentage of triple-negative breast cancer patients it may correspond that Indian patients have corresponding BRCA mutations. Individuals with a family history of cancer are advised to speak to their doctor for hereditary cancer testing.
Internal Data: Positive Bioscience. Unpublished at the time of this writing.