Research from The Cancer Institute of New Jersey (CINJ) shows that women with triple-negative breast cancer and no more than three positive lymph nodes following a mastectomy have a higher risk of local recurrence than similar women whose disease is not classified as triple-negative. The work will be presented as an abstract during the 54th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) in Boston this week. The Cancer Institute of New Jersey is a Center of Excellence of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (RWJMS).
Triple-negative disease occurs in 10 to 25 percent of all breast cancer cases. Some of the most successful breast cancer therapies target certain receptors (estrogen receptors, progesterone receptors or HER2/neu protein) that may cause cancer to spread. These receptors are absent from triple-negative breast cancer cells, thus making the disease resistant to some of these common treatments.
The implications for women with triple-negative breast cancer and just a few positive lymph nodes following mastectomy remain unclear. Most importantly, it is currently unknown which of these women may benefit from post-mastectomy radiation therapy. That is the aspect on which investigators from The Cancer Institute of New Jersey focused their research.