Targeted Therapies for Triple-Negative Breast Cancer

Debu Tripathy, MD; Clinton Yam, MD


December 23, 2022

Around 15% of women with invasive breast cancer have the triple-negative subtype (TNBC), which is characterized by tumor cells that do not express estrogen receptors (ER), progesterone receptors (HR), or HER2 protein.

Because TNBC does not have well-defined molecular targets, sequential single-agent chemotherapy has been the standard of care. Recently, however, newer targeted therapies have been shown to improve outcomes in patients with TNBC.

In this panel ReCAP, Dr Debu Tripathy and Dr Clinton Yam from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center share insight on the emergence of several important therapies for TNBC.

First, they discuss pembrolizumab, an anti–PD-1 immune checkpoint inhibitor that has been approved for use in combination with chemotherapy in patients with TNBC whose tumors express the PD-L1 protein.

Next, they discuss the use of PARP inhibitors in TNBC, especially in patients with germline BRCA1/2 mutations.

They close their commentary with a discussion about antibody-drug conjugates, focusing on the recently approved sacituzumab govitecan. These agents are an emerging class of anticancer medications that could significantly improve outcomes for patients with TNBC.


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