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Outcomes Poor in Triple Negative Breast Cancer

Distant metastasis more likely in triple negative patients than in other subtypes

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 27 (HealthDay News) -- In conservatively managed early-stage breast cancer patients, those classified as triple negative for estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor and HER2/neu have a significantly poorer prognosis than patients with other subtypes, according to a study published in the Dec. 20 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Bruce G. Haffty, M.D., of the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, N.J., and colleagues identified 482 patients with all three markers available and classified 117 as triple negative.

At five years, the researchers found that the triple negative group had a lower distant metastasis-free rate than the other subtypes (67 percent versus 82 percent) but the same local control rate (83 percent). They also found that the triple negative subtype was an independent predictor of distant metastasis (hazard ratio, 2.14) and cause-specific survival (HR, 1.79).

"The high rate of distant metastasis, even among this cohort of women presenting with early-stage disease, reinforces the need to evaluate, in well-designed prospective studies, alternative forms of systemic therapy, including the use of targeted molecular therapies," the authors conclude.

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