triple negative breast cancer It is the most aggressive and difficult to treat type of breast cancer. It occurs in 20% of cases.
There are three main types of breast cancer, classified according to the presence or absence of three receptors on cancer cells. So, first of all, we will clarify what a cell receptor is.
Importance of cell receptors
The cells of the organism must communicate with their environment. They have to be capable of receiving signals informing them of environmental conditions they are in to act accordingly.
For this communication to be possible 3 elements are needed:
- A signal moleculethat is, in the environment of the cell and which, when it detects it, causes a response.
- A receiver, that is, a protein present in the cell membrane capable of detecting the signal molecule and transferring the information inside the cell.
- certain factors and molecules within the cell with the ability to respond to the signal that has been transmitted from outside the cell.
Therefore, receptors are essential for regulating many cellular processes. Specifically, in the case of cell growth, there are receptors that detect growth factorsas hormones (signal molecules) and transmit this information to the cell so that it grows and divides.
The problem with cancers, including breast cancer, is this cancer cells do not have this mechanism under control. Its receptors are activated when they shouldn’t and cells proliferate uncontrollably.
But this aspect that gives cancer cells their high dividing ability is also a excellent target for cancer controlusing drugs against these receptors.
Types of breast cancer based on their receptors
Both in normal cells and in most cancer cells we find so-called hormone receptors. These receptors, as the name suggests, sense hormones.
These hormones are classified into two large groups: estrogen and progesterone. There are receptors for them for estrogen and progesteronerespectively.
Hormone receptor-positive breast cancers they can be cured by attacking these very receptors. Thus, through the hormone therapy it can slow down or even completely stop the proliferation of cancer cells.
receivers SHE2 they are not fully characterized, so it is not known which signal molecule activates them. However, it is known that the presence of these receptors is associated with cell division.
In HER2-positive breast cancers, cancer cells have a high amount of these receptors, then these cells divide uncontrollably.
But then again this offers a clear target for treating such cancers. By attacking their HER2 receptors with hormone therapy, we could slow the progression of the cancer.
triple negative breast cancer
The special thing about this type of aggressive breast cancer is that it is negative for both the receptors for the hormones estrogen and progesterone, as well as for the HER2 receptors.
That means, the proliferation of this type of cancer cells is not linked to hormone receptors, something that occurs in about 10-20% of breast cancer cases.
This implies, for one treatment, the absence of targets or “weak spots” to attack said cancer. This is the reason for its poor prognosis, compared to other types of breast cancer.
Also, triple negative breast cancer it is usually more aggressive, as it is more likely to spread outside the breast, generating metastases. Also, this type of cancer is often recurrent, which means it can come back even after treatment.
However, all is not lost when it comes to treat triple negative breast cancer. There are still other types of treatments that are very useful:
- breast lumpectomy: Removal of cancer from the breast and examination of nearby lymph nodes to make sure the cancer has not spread.
- mastectomy: removal of the breast and examination, also, of the nearby lymph nodes.
- Radiation: Radiation therapy is aimed at destroying any cancer cells that are left after the breast lumpectomy. It’s done with high-energy radiation.
- Chemotherapy: The goal of chemotherapy is to kill small cancer cells that may have spread to another part of the body. Chemotherapy reduces the chance of the cancer coming back.
Finally, although the most common treatments for other types of breast cancer do not work in the case of triple negative breast cancer, this does not imply that there are no other types of targets to attack in these cases.
Indeed, More and more alternative treatments have emerged to treat triple negative breast cancer and research in this field continues to advance to discover new therapeutic strategies.
The post Triple Negative Breast Cancer first appeared in research-school.