- Question from PatiYL: I was diagnosed one year ago with hormone-receptor-negative breast cancer (1.5 cm with negative nodes). I was pre-menopausal at the time. I had a lumpectomy and then had four rounds of chemo and radiation earlier this year. My question is, do we have new data on the recurrence rates for hormone-negative, and also don't most hormone-negative cancers happen to much younger women? Thanks.
- Answers - Kathy D. Miller, M.D. You're right that ER-negative tumors are more common in women who are younger at the time of diagnosis, and we don't really understand why that is.
Jennifer Armstrong, M.D.
In answer to the question as to whether we have new data on recurrence rates for ER-negative tumors, I am not aware of any. But I think this is an important issue that goes back to some of Dr. Miller's earlier words. As we learn more about hormone-negative cancers and triple-negative cancers (ER-negative, PR-negative, HER2 /neu-negative), we are starting to consider entirely different types of breast cancer patterns and diseases. With time, many of us anticipate thinking about and treating these as different diseases. (This has occurred in a different type of cancer, lymphoma, where we now recognize 31 different types of lymphoma.) We suspect there are several different types of breast cancers that we are currently just beginning to differentiate.
It will take time for us to not only understand these better, and to develop tailored treatment strategies, and then even longer to recognize the impact on recurrence rates in these different tumor types. In the interim, we use a combination of features of a patient's tumor to guide treatment which Dr. Miller alluded to earlier. These include hormone-receptor status, HER2 /neu overexpression, tumor size, and lymph node status.
On Wednesday, November 19, 2005, our Ask-the-Expert Online Conference was called Hormone-Receptor-Negative Breast Cancer. Kathy D. Miller, M.D., Marisa Weiss, M.D., and moderator Jennifer Armstrong, M.D. answered your questions about a wide range of issues related to hormone-receptor-negative breast cancer.
The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.
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