Targeting Basal-Like Breast Cancers
Nandini Dey, Brian R. Smith and B. Leyland-Jones
Affiliation: Edith Sanford Breast Cancer, Sanford Research/University of South Dakota.
Keywords: Basal-like breast cancers, BRCA1/2 incompetency, PARP inhibitors, PTEN, pathway targeted inhibitors, triple
negative breast cancer, gene-expression data profiles, TNBC phenotype, epithelial growth factor receptor [EGFR], breast basal-epithelial cells.
Basal-like breast tumors and triple negative breast tumors are high-risk breast cancers that typically carry the
poorest prognoses compared with HR (Hormone Receptor)-positive tumors and HER2 (Human Epidermal growth factor
Receptor 2)-amplified tumors for known therapies. These subsets of breast cancers exhibit aggressive clinical behavior,
pushing margins of invasion, poor clinical outcome, and derive limited benefit from current therapy. This clinical situation
is contributed and further aggravated by their less known biology, lack of obvious molecular targets, absence of favorable
biomarkers, and their limited response to single-drug therapy. In 2010, Oakman et al., remarked that current therapy fails
to curtail the innate aggressive behavior of TNBC (Triple Negative Breast Cancer) in the majority of patients. The poor
prognosis coupled with a lack of targeted use of therapies is responsible for the high mortality in this subtype. The present
review will examine the existing literature and scrutinize the difficulties that have, to date, limited the understanding of
the biology of these tumor cells, and provide a rationale for the development of the concept of combining subtype-specific
and pathway-specific drug targets for the therapeutic intervention of the disease.
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