Susan G. Komen-funded Scholar’s Clinical Trial Reveals Insights for Recurrence and Treatment of Triple Negative Breast Cancer

Dr. Bryan Schneider, a Susan G. Komen-funded scholar, led a clinical trial which produced encouraging results for triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) patients.

TNBC is a type of breast cancer that is not fueled by three of the most common breast cancer hormones: estrogen, progesterone, and HER2. By not having any of these hormone receptors present, TNBC has fewer treatment options and can lead to worse patient outcomes than hormone-positive breast cancers. TNBC also disproportionately affects African American women and women under 35.

Dr. Schneider’s clinical trial studied circulating tumor cells (CTCs) and circulating DNA (ctDNA) to evaluate their reliability in predicting recurrence and the prognosis for TNBC patients.

“The results showed that breast cancer recurrence could be predicted for TNBC patients, and physicians may be able to use this information in the future to identify patients who are at high risk for recurrence,” said Dr. Schneider. “Through this approach, researchers can also identify patients who have an incredibly good prognosis leading to the potential for future studies focused on novel de-escalation approaches for some TNBC patients.”

One key aspect of this clinical trial is that over 25% of the patients enrolled were African-American women. This is significant because African-American women are 40 percent more likely to die from breast cancer than White women. They are also more likely to be diagnosed with TNBC, while less likely to participate in clinical trials.

A second key aspect is 25% of the patients enrolled were under the age of 35 — another population disproportionately impacted by TNBC.

The promising results of this clinical trial have led to the formulation of a second clinical trial focused on refining how liquid biopsy can inform treatment for TNBC patients.

“The potential promise of knowing more about your risk and options from a simple blood test is phenomenal,” said Dr. Schneider.

Susan G. Komen’s Senior Vice President of Mission, Victoria Wolodzko, added, “We have been talking about the potential of liquid biopsy for a long time, and are excited to see this technology working for breast cancer patients. We look forward to the results of the follow up trial that will lead to better treatment strategies for TNBC patients, and give physicians as well as patients better tools to guide precision medicine.“

Susan G. Komen San Diego is proud to fund research focused on the most aggressive forms of breast cancer. With Susan G. Komen investing over $1 billion in research since its inception, our bold goal is to reduce the number of breast cancer deaths in the U.S. by 2026.

To learn more about our impact, click here.