Triple-negative breast cancer cells produce inflammatory cytokines Interleukin-6 (IL-6) and Interleukin-8 (IL-8), which in turn stimulate the growth of cancer cells, according to a study published in the June issue of Cancer Research, a publication of the American Association for Cancer Research.
The study identified new targeted therapies for patients with triple-negative breast cancer focused on signaling molecules called cytokines, which are essentially hormones produced by the cells to tell breast cancer cells to grow.
"Currently, there are no effective targeted therapies for triple-negative breast cancer, and this type of breast cancer is most associated with lack of response to therapy and poor prognosis," says Powel Brown, M.D., Ph.D., professor and chair of Clinical Cancer Prevention at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and senior author on the study conducted with colleagues at MD Anderson and Baylor College of Medicine.
"There are no prevention strategies for this form of breast cancer," Brown said. "We use non-specific chemotherapy on all stage II or higher triple-negative breast cancer patients."
Triple-negative breast cancer lacks hormonal and growth factor drug targets present in most breast cancers, making it the deadliest form of the disease, typically diagnosed in women under the age of 50 and accounting for 15 to 20 percent of breast cancer deaths annually. Although there is a high incidence in both Hispanic and African-American women, African-American and women from Africa are more likely to die from this disease.