There is good news Monday for women with one of the most aggressive kinds of breast cancer. A new study offers hope for longer life.
Triple negative breast cancer is one of the hardest to treat forms of breast cancer and it targets women under the age of 50.
A new study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found a combination of chemotherapy and immunotherapy teaches the patient’s own immune system to attack cancer cells. In some cases, patients’ lives were extended by almost a year.
In Rochester, the Lipson Cancer Center is conducting its own trial of immunotherapy, and says this new study points to a new standard of care for triple negative breast cancer patients.
“The excitement is that it can harness the body’s own immune system to help fight the cancer,” says Peter Bushunow, M.D., director of clinical research at Rochester Regional Health. “The thing that we’re particularly excited about here at Lipson is that we have an ongoing clinical trial that uses this drug in combination with chemotherapy as an early form of treatment.”
Most triple negative breast cancer patients have surgery followed by chemotherapy alone. But patients with triple negative breast cancer often develop a resistance to chemotherapy and that reduces their survival rate.
In the study, patients who also had immunotherapy reduced the spread of cancer, and increased survival rates.