When was triple-negative identified?

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Question from Skippy123: When did the cancer community begin to identify triple-negatives? How long have we been tracking triple-negative survivors?
Answers - George Sledge, M.D. When we say triple-negative, we mean estrogen-receptor negative, progesterone-receptor negative, and HER2 negative. Routine HER2 testing did not become possible until a decade ago. Interestingly, if one looks in the medical literature, one never sees the term triple-negative breast cancer prior to 3-4 years ago. Indeed, focused studies for triple-negative breast cancer have almost entirely been conducted within the last 3-4 years. That is not to say that we don't know a great deal about triple-negative breast cancers. Because clinical researchers collect slides and tissue blocks as part of clinical trials, we are able to go back to those blocks and slides, sometimes from decades ago, and look at clinical trials through the lens of triple-negative breast cancers.
Beth Baughman DuPree, M.D., F.A.C.S. The term triple-negative seemed to become quite popular, particularly in distinguishing patients as a subgroup once the drug Herceptin became available to treat patients that were HER2/neu positive and previously thought to be a subgroup of having an incredibly aggressive form of cancer. Once there was a treatment for HER2/neu, the term triple-negative became more used in distinguishing this group from a subset of breast cancer patients.

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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