Tatsat Chronicle Magazine

Scientists identify a new method to treat triple-negative breast cancer

October 9, 2021
Breast cancer

Drugs like PARP inhibitors, immunotherapy, and antibody-drug conjugates are revolutionising the treatment of breast cancer patients with various subtypes

Breast cancer clinical trials have been focusing on therapy alternatives with high response rates and fewer side effects, which could change the landscape of breast cancer treatment. Dr. Melinda Telli, an associate professor of medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine in California and director of the breast cancer programme at Stanford Cancer Institute, spoke at the 12th Annual Joining FORCES Against Hereditary Cancer Conference about recent data on treatments for cancer subtypes such as early-stage BRCA1/2 breast cancer, triple-negative breast cancer, and advanced breast cancer.

Data on the use of Lynparza (olaparib) in patients with BRCA1/2-mutant, early HER2-negative breast cancer who are at high risk for disease recurrence after standard-of-care treatments such surgery, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, or radiation therapy were recently described. After a median follow-up of 2.5 years in the phase 3 OlympiA study, patients treated with this PARP inhibitor had a 42 percent reduction in invasive disease-free survival, other new malignancies, and all-cause death. These findings, according to Telli, have a number of ramifications. “First and foremost, we expect (Lynparza) to be approved for this indication based on these findings.” But, without a doubt, we’ll need to increase our BRCA1/2 testing in early breast cancer to better determine which patients would benefit from this treatment. And it’s undeniably complicated. We need to revise our testing procedures and address issues with insurance and payer coverage.”

From 2013 to 2017, nearly a quarter of newly diagnosed cancer patients in Georgia and California obtained genetic testing, according to a recent study. Some patients were simply tested for BRCA1/2, whereas others were tested for several genes. Another PARP inhibitor, Talzenna (talazoparib), was recently introduced at an oncology meeting — NEOTALA — for the treatment of patients with germline BRCA1/2 mutation-positive, HER2-negative  cancer before having surgery. Nearly half of patients who received Talzenna before surgery had a full response to treatment (no visible symptoms of malignancy).