Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide, and there can be significant differences in prognosis for different forms of the disease. Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is the term used to describe breast cancers that do not express three particular receptors: estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR), or the amplification of the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2). The lack of these receptors can pose treatment challenges, as most chemotherapies target one of these three receptors. This means that more aggressive treatments are often required, and that targeted therapeutic options are more limited than for other breast cancer types. A new review in Advanced Science by researchers from the University of Minho, Portugal, summarizes new potential diagnosis and treatment methods, with a particular focus on nanotechnology-based solutions.
TNBC cases account for approximately 19% of breast cancer cases, and these cases tend to have the worst prognosis when compared to other breast cancer types. To improve the availability of targeted therapeutic options, several new drug delivery and targeting agents are currently being investigated in order to assist with the delivery of therapeutic and/or imaging agents to the target tissue. Nanocarriers, both man-made and natural, can be equipped with ligands that will specifically target TNBC receptors, allowing nanotechnology to contribute to the improvement of detection technologies for these cancer types. Nanomedicines can also remove the need for cytotoxic therapies to improve the prognosis for TNBC patients. It is hoped that these new developments can contribute to the global effort to improve breast cancer survival rates.