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Study finds women with triple negative breast cancer and BRCA mutations have lower risk of recurrence
Date:9/29/2010

HOUSTON - Patients with triple negative breast cancer that also have mutations in the BRCA gene appear to have a lower risk of recurrence, compared to those with the same disease without the deleterious genetic mutation, according to researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

The findings may offer a direction for study of personalized therapy in this select group of triple negative breast cancer patients, as well as highlight the unique need for genetic testing in a patient population. Ana M. Gonzalez-Angulo, M.D., associate professor in MD Anderson's Departments of Breast Medical Oncology and Systems Biology presented the findings in advance of the 2010 Breast Cancer Symposium.

"There is data on the number of breast cancer patients with BRCA mutations, as well as those that have triple negative disease. However, there is no understanding of the incidence of BRCA1 and 2 mutations in unselected patients with triple negative breast cancer," said Gonzalez-Angulo, the study's first and corresponding author. "Now, there are new drugs that appear to be more effective in treating triple negative breast cancer and BRCA status may be an important way of selecting patients that may respond to these therapies."

Triple negative disease - breast cancer that is estrogen, progesterone and HER2-neu receptor negative - accounts for about 15 percent of all breast cancers. Currently, it's an area of much research focus in the breast cancer community because: it lacks effective targets effective for anti-cancer therapies; chemotherapy is only effective in about 40 percent of patients; and in those that do relapse, the disease is highly resistant and patients die quickly.

PARP inhibitors, a class of drugs of growing interest in cancer research, have shown promise in both patients with BRCA and triple negative disease. PARPs appear to be more effective in patients with BRCA mutations, as both PARP enzymes and protei
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Contact: Laura Sussman
lsussman@mdanderson.org
713-745-2457
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
Source:Eurekalert  

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