Advances in the systemic treatment of triple-negative breast cancer

Curr Oncol. 2018 Jun;25(Suppl 1):S142-S150. doi: 10.3747/co.25.3954. Epub 2018 Jun 13.


Triple-negative breast cancer constitutes a heterogeneous group of malignancies that are often aggressive and associated with a poor prognosis. Molecular characterization, while not a standard of care, can further subtype triple-negative breast cancer and provide insight into prognostication and behaviour. Optimal chemotherapy regimens have yet to be established; however, there have been advances in the systemic treatment of triple-negative breast cancer in the neoadjuvant, adjuvant, and metastatic settings. In this review, we discuss evidence for the potential benefit of neoadjuvant platinum-based chemotherapy, adjuvant combination chemotherapy with weekly paclitaxel, and BRCA mutation-directed therapy in the metastatic setting. The role for adjuvant capecitabine in patients who do not achieve a pathologic complete response with neoadjuvant chemotherapy is reviewed. Future directions and data concerning novel targeted agents are reviewed, including the most recent data on parp [poly (adp-ribose) polymerase] inhibitors, antiandrogen agents, and immunotherapy.

Keywords: Breast cancer; triple-negative breast cancer.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • BRCA1 Protein / genetics
  • Capecitabine / administration & dosage
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / methods
  • Immunotherapy / trends
  • Medical Oncology / methods
  • Medical Oncology / trends*
  • Mutation
  • Neoadjuvant Therapy
  • Paclitaxel / administration & dosage
  • Triple Negative Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Triple Negative Breast Neoplasms / genetics


  • BRCA1 Protein
  • Capecitabine
  • Paclitaxel