Study reveals effectiveness of neoadjuvant chemotherapy in triple-negative breast cancer

Researchers analyzed data confirming the improved outcomes in both short- and long-term survival in patients that underwent neoadjuvant chemotherapy prior to surgery for triple-negative breast cancer. The study included 213 patients at 8 Italian cancer centers whose diagnoses were characterized by clinical, molecular, and therapeutic features of triple-negative breast cancer, an aggressive form of cancer with limited treatment options.

The study, "Neoadjuvant chemotherapy in triple-negative breast cancer: Multicentric retrospective observational study in real-life setting," was recently published in the Journal of Cell Physiology, an international, peer-reviewed journal focused on cancer-related issues. The study is authored by a multidisciplinary Italian-American team of scientists who have a long and productive history of collaboration with Prof. Antonio Giordano, Director of the Sbarro Institute for Cancer Research and Department of Biology at Temple University.

"Triple-negative breast cancers account for about 10-15% of breast cancer cases. Their aggressive behavior is well exemplified by the large tumor volume at presentation, along with the quite frequent involvement of regional lymph nodes, and high histological grade," says co-author Dr. Maddalena Barba, researcher at the IRCCS Regina Elena National Cancer Institute of Rome, Central Italy.

"Currently, there are no approved targeted therapies for triple-negative breast cancers and chemotherapy remains the mainstay of treatment. When compared with other and more frequent breast cancer subtypes, these tumors show higher chemosensitivity, especially when chemotherapy is administered prior to surgery," adds co-author Dr. Patrizia Vici, clinical researcher at the division of Medical Oncology 2 of the IRCCS Regina Elena National Cancer Institute.

"Results from our study confirmed previous findings from randomized clinical trials on the advantage conferred by more than 6 six cycles of a well characterized regimen of neoadjuvant chemotherapy, that is, the sequential antracycline-taxane regimen," explains Prof. Antonio Giordano. "In addition, we confirmed the predictive role of some features related to the disease and its potential spread, namely Ki-67 absolute value and its relative measures, on treatment outcomes. Our work on triple negative breast cancer is thus confirmative in nature.

"But, what I would strongly underline, is the need for this sort of confirmative evidence to implement the scientific knowledge stemming from large, well designed and absolutely needed randomized clinical trials. Indeed, breast cancer patients who participate in these trials are selected on the basis of well codified demographic, clinical, and molecular characteristics, which do not necessarily reflect those of patients from the real-world setting who represent the final recipients of our gains in cancer-related knowledge." concludes Dr. Giordano, a scientist with widely recognized expertise in cancer with a specific focus on translational research.

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