Breast Cancer Research: Triple Negative Breast Cancer

bc-research-mtp-pinkTriple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a subtype of breast cancer that does not express hormone receptors (ER-, PR-) or HER2/neu (HER2-) About 15 to 20 percent of breast cancers diagnosed today in the U.S. are TNBC. These tumors tend to occur more often in younger women and African-American women. Women who carry a mutated BRCA1 gene tend to have breast cancers that are triple negative. Triple negative tumors are often aggressive.

Today there are no targeted therapies specifically for TNBC. However, triple negative breast cancer can be treated with surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. More research is needed to better understand how this cancer develops and how it can be treated more effectively. And that is what Susan G. Komen® is doing.

Komen has invested more than $98 million in more than 130 research grants focused on triple negative breast cancer since it was first identified as a distinct type of breast cancer in 2006. This research has helped us to understand that:

  • There are at least 6 different subtypes of TNBC, each with different abnormalities, which may be treated using drugs that are specific to these abnormalities.
  • A combination of a new drug called a PARP inhibitor plus standard chemotherapy may be more effective at killing TNBC than chemotherapy alone.
  • A blood test that measures the presence of a specific set of genes may be used to identify TNBC patients with BRCA mutations, resulting in earlier intervention and improved treatment.

Learn more: http://ww5.komen.org/BreastCancer/TripleNegativeBreastCancer.html

http://ww5.komen.org/uploadedFiles/_Komen/Content/What_We_Do/We_Fund_Research/Your_Research_Dollars_at_Work/2015%20TNBC%20FF(1).pdf

Breast Cancer Education: Understanding a Pathology Report

bc-education-mtp-pinkNot all breast cancers are the same. A biopsy is a test that removes cells or tissue from the suspicious area of the breast. It is needed in order to diagnose breast cancer. Once biopsied, cells are sent to a lab for a pathology report. The following information will usually be available on this report if the cells studied are cancerous:

  • Lymph Node Status: If lymph nodes were removed, a pathology report will show if the lymph nodes contain cancer cells.
  • Tumor Margins: When breast cancer is removed by surgery (during a surgical biopsy, lumpectomy or mastectomy), a rim of normal tissue surrounding the tumor is also removed. This rim is called a margin. It helps show whether or not all of the tumor was removed.
    • Positive (involved) margins: Contain cancer cells.
    • Close margins: Cancer cells approach but do not touch the edge of the biopsy.
    • Negative (not involved, clear or clean) margins: Do not contain cancer cells
  • Tumor Grade: For invasive breast cancers, the shape is noted and a grade is assigned. Tumor grade relates to the structure of the cells. It is different from tumor stage. This determines how different the cancer cells look from healthy cells. In general, the more the cancer cells look like normal breast cells, the lower the grade and the better the prognosis.
    • Grade 1: Cells look most similar to normal and are not growing rapidly.
    • Grade 2: Cells look somewhat different than normal.
    • Grade 3: Cells look very abnormal and may be spreading/growing rapidly.
  • Non Invasive vs. Invasive:
    • Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is a non-invasive breast cancer (stage 0).
    • Invasive breast cancer (also called infiltrating cancer) means the cancer cells inside of a milk duct or lobule have broken out and spread to nearby tissues
  • Tumor Size: Tumor size is most often reported in centimeters or millimeters. The best way to measure tumor size is under a microscope. In general, the smaller the tumor size, the better the prognosis.
  • Diagnosis: This is the most important part of the pathology report. It gives the final diagnosis and may include information on the cancer such as tumor size, type, grade, hormone receptor status and HER2/neu status.
  • Hormone Receptor Status: Hormone receptors are proteins found inside some cancer cells. When hormones (estrogen and progesterone) attach to these receptors, they make cancer cells grow. Knowing the hormone receptor status will help guide your treatment.
    • Estrogen and Progesterone Receptive-positive (ER+ and PR+) tumors have many hormone receptors and there are treatments that prevent the cancer cells from getting the hormones they need to grow may stop tumor growth. .
    • Estrogen and Progesterone Receptive-negative (ER- and PR-) tumors have few or no hormone receptors and are not treated with hormone therapies.
  • HER2/neu Status: (human epidermal growth factor receptor 2) is a protein that occurs on the surface of some breast cancer cells.
    • HER2/neu-positive (HER2+) tumors have many HER2/neu genes inside the cancer cells (also called HER2/neu over-expression), which causes a large amount of HER2/neu protein on the surface of the cancer cells. About 15-20 percent of breast cancers are Her2+. These breast cancers tend to be more aggressive than other tumors. There are treatments that specifically target HER2/neu and block the ability of the cancer cells to receive the signals that cause them to grow.
    • HER2/neu-negative (HER2-) tumors have few HER2/neu genes inside the cancer cells and little or no HER2/neu protein on the surface of the cancer cells and are not treated with HER2-targeted therapies.
  • Triple Negative: If all three statuses are negative (ER, PR, and HER2/neu) then the patient’s cancer is Triple Negative Breast Cancer. The current standard of treatment for these cancers is some combination of surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. These cancers tend to be very aggressive and recur (come back) early.

Learn more about breast biopsies: http://ww5.komen.org/BreastCancer/Biopsies.html

Learn more about types of breast cancer tumors:

http://ww5.komen.org/uploadedFiles/_Komen/Content/About_Breast_Cancer/Tools_and_Resources/Fact_Sheets_and_Breast_Self_Awareness_Cards/Types%20of%20Breast%20Cancer%20Tumors.pdf

Susan G. Komen Sets Bold Goal to Reduce U.S. Breast Cancer Deaths by 50 Percent in 10 Years

Susan G. Komen® Sets Bold Goal to Reduce U.S. Breast Cancer Deaths by 50 Percent in 10 Years

Plan Targets Health Equity for All, Enhanced Research Focus for Most Lethal Breast Cancers

DALLAS – Sept.13, 2016 – The Susan G. Komen breast cancer organization announced a bold plan today to reduce the nation’s 40,000 breast cancer deaths by 50 percent in 10 years, by improving access to quality and timely cancer care for the underserved and enhancing Komen’s research focus on lethal breast cancers.

“We know that people die of breast cancer for two reasons: a lack of high-quality breast cancer care accessible to everyone, and a lack of treatments for the most aggressive and deadly forms of this disease,” said Dr. Judith A. Salerno, president and CEO of Susan G. Komen. “We are taking direct action designed to solve these problems to reduce breast cancer deaths by half in the U.S. within the next decade.”

bold-goal

$27 Million Advanced for Health Equity 

Salerno said today that Fund II Foundation made a grant worth approximately $27 million for a  program initially targeting 10 metropolitan areas to significantly reduce what she called the “appalling” difference in death rates between African-American and white women. African-American women are nearly 40 percent more likely to die of breast cancer than white women; in some cities, that gap is as high as 74 percent.

“This constitutes a public health crisis that must be addressed, first in the cities where these death rates are highest, and then in all areas of the country,” Salerno said.

Salerno thanked Fund II Foundation for the grant that makes the initiative possible. “The generosity of Fund II Foundation will save lives,” Salerno said. “We are humbled by the faith that Fund II Foundation has placed in this initiative and its interest in ensuring health equity for African-American citizens.”

Fund II Foundation President, Robert F. Smith said, “No longer should African-American women be more likely to die from a breast cancer diagnosis than others. Through this grant supporting Susan G. Komen, Fund II Foundation will help address these unfair disparities across our country.”

Komen’s African-American Health Equity Initiative targets cities where mortality rates and late-stage diagnosis of African-American women are highest. The goal: to reduce the mortality gap by 25 percent within five years of beginning work in each city.

The initial targeted cities are Memphis, Tenn., St. Louis, Mo., Dallas, Los Angeles, Virginia Beach, Va., Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia.  Baltimore and Detroit have been identified as high-priority areas as the program expands over the next year.

The African-American Health Equity Initiative supplements the work that Komen and its network of 100 U.S. Affiliates already are doing to remove barriers to cancer care. Komen and Komen Affiliates support thousands of local programs that provide screenings, treatment assistance, emergency financial aid, medical supplies and living expense for underserved individuals.

The organization has invested more than $2 billion over 34 years for these programs aimed at uninsured, under-insured, and medically vulnerable populations.

“We will never waver from our commitment to remove barriers of language, geography, economics or culture for all people facing this disease.  Every woman or man must be able to access and receive high-quality breast health and breast cancer care, be supported through their treatment and into survivorship,” Salerno said.

Research

The second prong of Komen’s plan enhances Komen’s focus on aggressive forms of breast cancer and metastatic disease (stage IV or cancer that has spread to other parts of the body).

As the largest nonprofit funder of breast cancer research (investing more than $920 million since inception), Komen has funded nearly $160 million in metastatic disease research since its founding. Komen has funded another $110 million in research on aggressive forms of breast cancer – such as triple negative, inflammatory breast cancer and hormone-positive forms of breast cancer – that are resistant to standard treatments.

“The majority of breast cancer deaths are from metastatic breast cancer. We also know that aggressive forms of breast cancer are more likely to recur and spread, so we are focusing our efforts in both of these areas,” Salerno said.

The new initiative aims to advance research into new treatments for aggressive and metastatic disease. Komen also will seek to leverage next-generation technology that can detect breast cancer at its very earliest stages to prevent recurrence and metastasis.

Progress to Date

Salerno said Komen’s bold goal builds on the progress of the breast cancer movement since Komen was founded in 1982. “Death rates from breast cancer have declined by 37 percent since 1990. We have more treatments than at any time in our history. We’ve come a very long way from a time when breast cancer couldn’t be discussed publicly. Our new bold goal requires us to take a deeper dive and stretch further to ensure that every woman or man can be told, ‘There is help and hope for you.’”

About Susan G. Komen®

Susan G. Komen is the world’s largest breast cancer organization, funding more breast cancer research than any other nonprofit outside of the federal government while providing real-time help to those facing the disease. Since its founding in 1982, Komen has funded more than $920 million in research and provided more than $2 billion in funding to screening, education, treatment and psychosocial support programs serving millions of people in more than 30 countries worldwide. Komen was founded by Nancy G. Brinker, who promised her sister, Susan G. Komen, that she would end the disease that claimed Suzy’s life. Visit komen.org or call 1-877 GO KOMEN. Connect with us on social at ww5.komen.org/social.

About Fund II Foundation

Fund II Foundation makes grants to 501(c)(3) public charities in five areas:  1) preservation of the African-American experience, 2) safeguarding human dignity by giving a voice to the voiceless and promoting human rights 3) improving environmental conservation and providing outdoor education that enables people of all ages and backgrounds to enjoy the numerous benefits of the great outdoors 4) facilitating music education, particularly in primary and secondary schools, to nourish both the mind and the soul 5) and sustaining the uniquely American values of entrepreneurship, empowerment, innovation and security.  For more information on Fund II Foundation, visit www.fund2foundation.org.

 

Breast Cancer Research: Triple Negative Breast Cancer

2015KomenNCR-NBCAMGraphicFaceookCover-ResearchAbout 15 to 20 percent of breast cancers diagnosed today in the U.S. are triple negative breast cancers (TNBC). These tumors tend to occur more often in younger women and African-American women.

Women who carry a mutated BRCA1 gene tend to have breast cancers that are triple negative. Triple negative tumors are often aggressive. Today there are no targeted therapies specifically for TNBC. However, triple negative breast cancer can be treated with surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. More research is needed to better understand how this cancer develops and how it can be treated more effectively. And that is what Susan G. Komen® is doing.

Komen has invested more than $80 million in more than 115 research grants focused on triple negative breast cancer since it was first identified as a distinct type of breast cancer in 2006. This research has helped us to understand that:

  • There are at least 6 different subtypes of TNBC, each with different abnormalities, which may be treated using drugs that are specific to these abnormalities.
  • A combination of a new drug called a PARP inhibitor plus standard chemotherapy may be more effective at killing TNBC than chemotherapy alone.
  • A blood test that measures the presence of a specific set of genes may be used to identify TNBC patients with BRCA mutations, resulting in earlier intervention and improved treatment.

Learn more: http://ww5.komen.org/BreastCancer/TripleNegativeBreastCancer.html

and

http://ww5.komen.org/uploadedFiles/Content/ResearchGrants/GrantPrograms/TNBCFINAL.pdf

We are celebrating National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Connect with and follow Komen St. Louis and use #Komen365 to join in the conversation.

Breast Cancer Education: Understanding a Pathology Report

2015KomenNCR-NBCAMGraphicFaceookCover-GeneralNot all breast cancers are the same. A biopsy is needed in order to diagnose breast cancer. Once biopsied, cells are sent to a lab for a pathology report. The following information will usually be available on this report if the cells studied are cancerous:

  • Diagnosis: This is the most important part of the pathology report. It gives the final diagnosis and may include information on the cancer such as tumor size, type, grade, hormone receptor status and HER2/neu status.
  • Tumor Size: Tumor size is most often reported in centimeters or millimeters. The best way to measure tumor size is under a microscope. In general, the smaller the tumor size, the better the prognosis.
  • Non Invasive vs. Invasive:
    • Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is a non-invasive breast cancer (stage 0).
    • Invasive breast cancer (also called infiltrating cancer) means the cancer cells inside of a milk duct or lobule have broken out and spread to nearby tissues.
  • Tumor Grade: For invasive breast cancers, the shape is noted and a grade is assigned. Tumor grade relates to the structure of the cells. It is different from tumor stage. This determines how different the cancer cells look from healthy cells. In general, the more the cancer cells look like normal breast cells, the lower the grade and the better the prognosis.

– Grade 1: Cells look most similar to normal and are not growing rapidly.
– Grade 2: Cells look somewhat different than normal.
– Grade 3: Cells look very abnormal and may be spreading/growing rapidly.

  • Tumor Margins: During a surgical biopsy, an area of normal breast tissue around the suspicious area will be taken out to be sure the entire tumor is removed. The pathologist looks at the margins and decides whether or not they contain cancer cells.

– Positive (involved) margins: Contain cancer cells.
– Close margins: Cancer Cells approach but do not touch the edge of the biopsy.
– Negative (not involved, clear or clean) margins: Do not contain cancer cells

  • Lymph Node Status: If lymph nodes were removed, a pathology report will show if the lymph nodes contain cancer cells.
  • Hormone Receptor Status: Hormone receptors are proteins found inside some cancer cells. When hormones (estrogen and progesterone) attach to these receptors, they make cancer cells grow. Knowing the hormone receptor status will help guide your treatment.

– Estrogen and Progesterone Receptive-positive (ER+ and PR+) tumors have many hormone receptors and treatments that prevent the cancer cells from getting the hormones they need to grow may stop tumor growth. .

– Estrogen and Progesterone Receptive-negative (ER- and PR-) tumors have few or no hormone receptors and are not treated with hormone therapies.

  • HER2/neu Status: (human epidermal growth factor receptor 2) is a protein that occurs on the surface of some breast cancer cells.

– HER2/neu-positive (HER2+) tumors have many HER2/neu genes inside the cancer cells (also called HER2/neu over-expression), which causes a large amount of HER2/neu protein on the surface of the cancer cells. About 15-20 percent of breast cancers are Her2+. These breast cancers tend to be more aggressive than other tumors.

– HER2/neu-negative (HER2-) tumors have few HER2/neu genes inside the cancer cells and little or no HER2/neu protein on the surface of the cancer cells

  • Triple Negative: If all three statuses are negative (ER, PR, and HER2/Neu) then the patient’s cancer is Triple Negative Breast Cancer. The current standard of treatment for these cancers is some combination of surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. These cancers tend to be very aggressive and recur early.

Learn more about breast biopsies: http://ww5.komen.org/BreastCancer/Biopsies.html

Learn more about types of breast cancer tumors:

http://ww5.komen.org/uploadedFiles/_Komen/Content/About_Breast_Cancer/Tools_and_Resources/Fact_Sheets_and_Breast_Self_Awareness_Cards/Types%20of%20Breast%20Cancer%20Tumors.pdf

We are celebrating National Breast Cancer Awareness Month for the next six weeks. Connect with and follow Komen St. Louis and use #Komen365 to join in the conversation.

Komen 2015 Research Grants Include $447,000 to Washington University School of Medicine

Infographic 9-18-15 FRelease

Today, Susan G. Komen, the world’s largest nonprofit funder of breast cancer research, announced new grants to 124 researchers in 25 states and eight countries internationally, with about half of the grants targeted to early-career researchers squeezed by stagnation in federal research dollars.

The grants include more than $447,000 in new funding for research at Washington University School of Medicine, bringing Komen’s total research investment in Missouri to $22,372,092 since 1982.

The 2015 research grants expand Komen’s ongoing commitment to funding early-career scientists, that is, recent graduates and those trying to establish independent research careers. This group has been especially hard hit by real-dollar declines of as much as 25 percent in federal research funding over the past decade.

“We committed two years ago to do all that we can to ensure that talented early-career investigators remain in the breast cancer research field, while continuing our support for established researchers,” said Komen President and CEO Judith A. Salerno, M.D., M.S. “We cannot afford to lose talented scientists to other fields for lack of funding.”

This year’s research slate brings Komen’s total research investment to more than $889 million since 1982, the largest of any nonprofit, and second only to the U.S. government.

Grants from Komen’s nearly $36 million research portfolio – including more than $17.6 million in grants awarded to early-career investigators – span the entire cancer continuum from prevention to treatments for aggressive and metastatic disease. These include:

  • 36 grants to improve understanding of metastatic breast cancer
  • 18 grants investigating how tumors develop drug resistance
  • 19 grants related to the study of triple negative breast cancer – one of the most aggressive forms of the disease
  • 15 grants working to identify and understand biological and socio-economic health inequities
  • 13 grants seeking to develop new and novel therapies

Komen’s Investments in Missouri

Komen’s research program is funded in part by contributions from Komen’s nationwide network of Affiliates, which direct 25 percent of locally raised funds to Komen’s national research program. The remaining 75 percent of net funds are invested into community outreach programs that serve local women and men facing breast cancer.

“We are so proud to have the support of this community as we help our friends, coworkers and neighbors who are facing breast cancer, and work for continued progress against breast cancer through research,” said Helen Chesnut, Komen St. Louis executive director.

In Missouri, more than $452,000 will be invested into breast cancer research efforts in the state.

These funds include more than $447,000 to Adetunji Toriola, M.D., Ph.D., of Washington University School of Medicine to investigate the relationship between mammographic density and the RANK pathway, which was recently demonstrated to play an important role in the growth of breast cell types that contribute to breast density in pre-clinical studies and therefore may impact breast cancer risk.

A full list of Komen’s 2015 research grants can be found here. (Grants are contingent upon signed and executed contracts with Komen.)

In addition to funding breast cancer research, Komen has invested more than $1.95 billion into community health outreach and global programs that serve hundreds of thousands of women and men annually through breast cancer health and support programs that screen, educate and provide financial, medical and psychosocial assistance.

For more information about Komen’s mission investment, please visit komen.org.

For more information about Komen St. Louis, please visit komenstlouis.org.

Breast Cancer Research: Triple Negative Breast Cancer

SGK_NBCAM_2014_ResearchAbout 15 to 20 percent of breast cancers diagnosed today in the U.S. are triple negative breast cancers (TNBC). These tumors tend to occur more often in younger women and African American women.

Women who carry a mutated BRCA1 gene tend to have breast cancers that are triple negative. Triple negative tumors are often aggressive. Today there are no targeted therapies specifically for TNBC. However, triple negative breast cancer can be treated with surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy.

More research is needed to better understand how this cancer develops and how it can be treated more effectively. And that is what Susan G. Komen® is doing.

Komen has invested more than $74 million in more than 100 research grants focused on triple negative breast cancer since it was first identified as a distinct type of breast cancer in 2006. This research has helped us to understand that:

  • There are at least 6 different subtypes of TNBC, each with different abnormalities, which may be treated using drugs that are specific to these abnormalities.
  • A combination of a new drug that targets a “death receptor” in TNBC cells and standard chemotherapy may be more effective at killing TNBC than chemotherapy alone.
  • A blood test that measures the presence of a specific set of genes may be used to identify TNBC patients with BRCA mutations, resulting in earlier intervention and improved treatment.

Learn more: http://ww5.komen.org/BreastCancer/TripleNegativeBreastCancer.html

We’re celebrating National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Connect with and follow Komen St. Louis and use the hashtag #bcjourney to join in the conversation.