Triple negative breast cancer: new therapeutic approaches and BRCA status

APMIS. 2018 May;126(5):371-379. doi: 10.1111/apm.12836.


Treatment of triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a clinically challenging problem due to intriguing clinical and pathologic features of TNBC and natural or induced resistance to existing therapies. However, a great understanding of features of TNBC particularly associated with BRCA mutations has led to the development of different therapeutic approaches. Besides, identification of TNBC subtypes contribute to investigation of the underlying molecular differences and development of new strategies for the treatment of TNBC patients. In this review, we discussed the definition and characteristic properties of TNBC. We summarized an up-to-date description of the reported clinical trials of novel targeted strategies especially PARP inhibitors (PARPi) due to novel and highly potent for the treatment of TNBC. Additionally, we reviewed published studies which investigated the prevalence and types of BRCA1/2 mutation in breast cancer patients to assess and draw attention of association of BRCA status with TNBC. Consequently, the definition subtype of TNBC has important predictive value for the development of new therapeutic agents in the treatment of TNBC. Additionally, the incidence and types of mutations in BRCA-related pathways may be affected by ethnic origin and contribute to the risk of developing TNBC.

Keywords: BRCA1/2; PARP inhibitors; Triple negative breast cancer; synthetic lethality; therapeutic agents.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Genes, BRCA1*
  • Genes, BRCA2*
  • Humans
  • Poly(ADP-ribose) Polymerase Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Triple Negative Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Triple Negative Breast Neoplasms / genetics


  • Poly(ADP-ribose) Polymerase Inhibitors