Another receptor—the androgen receptor—is being studied to help evaluate the aggressiveness of breast cancer tumors and how they react to treatment
“I think we are seeing the birth of a new concept in breast cancer—the androgen-receptor-positive breast cancer,” says Jose Baselga, M.D., co-chair of the Impakt Breast Cancer Conference in Brussels, Belgium. “This is an important development in finding new targets that we can attack with new drugs in the future.”
Baselga was responding to research presented at the conference on the effects of androgens on chemotherapy. Patients who were triple negative breast and who also had androgen receptors tended to react less favorably to chemotherapy than those without the receptors.
This is more evidence of what doctors have been saying for some time: Cancer is many diseases. It is important to understand that triple-negative is also more than one disease. That explains why I was lucky enough to celebrate my third post-diagnosis year cancer-free, while my friend Karen had a recurrence. I suspect that, even though our diseases were in the same general category of hormone-negative, they were significantly different and I lucked out.
A clinical trials is now underway to target these receptors, with the hopes of using it for prognosis and the development of drug therapy.
The Impakt conference was sponsored by the European Society for Medical Oncology May 7-8, 2009.