“You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one.”
John Lennon, Imagine
As part of our ongoing series on the AACR Previews, today I want to take a closer look at some interesting scientific and clinical data in triple negative breast cancer (TNBC). One reason for this is that we need to remember that the disease, as currently defined, is essentially what’s left after taking out the ER+, HER2+ and inflammatory breast cancer subsets. In other words, it’s a very heterogeneous catch-all population, making clinical trials rather challenging at best. It also means that the chances of success in general all-comer trials is rather low.
It is my hope that as we learn more about the biology of this disease, we may see further subsets be defined by molecular peculiarities, much in the same way that gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GIST) were defined by KIT expression and CD117. Once we have more homogenous subsets, it will be easier to conduct trials just looking at those specific patients, thereby improving the chances of clinical success with therapeutic intervention.
There’s been a lot of work focused on this area over the last few years, so it seems a good point to find out where the progress has got to.
Without much further ado, what can we learn about the biology of TNBC from AACR this year and which potential new targets might emerge?