Infertility drugs and triple-negative breast cancer?

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Question from Kim: Has there ever been an association between use of infertility drugs and triple-negative breast cancers?
Answers - George Sledge, M.D. I'm unaware of any. However, recent epidemiological studies suggest that the risk factors for triple-negative breast cancer may be somewhat different than for estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancers. So for estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancers, for instance, risk factors include the age at first birth and how many pregnancies one has. Indeed, for these women, having many children and starting having children at a young age are protective for those tumors. In contrast, recent studies say that for triple-negative breast cancers, higher parity and young age at first birth may in fact be a risk factor (increased risk). This was not observed in older studies because these cancers represent a small minority of all cancers. In addition, there also appears from an epidemiological standpoint for there to be an interaction with race and age, so that younger women and African-American women are more likely to develop a triple-negative or basal breast cancer. In particular, young African-American women are more likely to have a triple-negative breast cancer.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Triple-Negative Breast Cancer featured George Sledge, M.D. and Beth Baughman DuPree, M.D., F.A.C.S. answering your questions about triple-negative breast cancer and its treatment.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in July 2008.

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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