New targets for triple-negative breast cancer

Oncology (Williston Park). 2013 Sep;27(9):846-54.


Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) lacks the three most commonly targeted receptors in human breast cancer--the estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR), and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)/neu--and it is associated with an aggressive natural history. More recently, TNBC has been further dissected into smaller, distinct subsets with unique molecular alterations and response to therapy. Large-scale genomic projects have yielded new knowledge about the molecular characteristics of TNBC, including similarities with high-grade serous ovarian cancers, suggesting a possible coordinated treatment algorithm for these malignancies. Moreover, translation of preclinical findings has led to clinical trials testing a plethora of targets and pathways in TNBC, which will be reviewed here; these include epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), angiogenesis, DNA repair capacity, epigenetic regulation, androgen receptor (AR) and folate receptor (FR) signaling, cell-cycle control, and cell survival. Given the complexity of TNBC biology and the lack of "traditional" therapeutic targets, the advancement of care for women with TNBC will require a true partnership between clinicians, translational investigators, and basic scientists.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / chemistry
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Design
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Genomics
  • Humans
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy*
  • Phenotype
  • Prognosis
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects*
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • Translational Medical Research
  • Triple Negative Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Triple Negative Breast Neoplasms / genetics
  • Triple Negative Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Triple Negative Breast Neoplasms / pathology


  • Antineoplastic Agents