TNBC is not one disease, but many, with varying degrees of aggressiveness. New research may help doctors determine which subsets are the most aggressive, and how to treat them.

Secreted protein acid rich in cysteine (SPARC) is an important element in tumor development and can help determine the prognosis of patients with triple-negative breast cancer, according to a paper presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s symposium in September. Specifically, researchers noted that paclitaxel can be especially effective in cases in which SPARC overexpresses:

Our study suggests that nab-paclitaxel may serve as a therapeutic agent for the subset of triple negative patients that over-express SPARC. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study involving a large patient pool in which SPARC has been investigated in a single clinical laboratory using standardized IHC with two different SPARC antibodies.

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