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Recent Studies of Triple Negative Breast Cancer: Most Women Survive

mimivac's picture
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Joined: Dec 2008

From http://www.hormonenegative.blogspot.com/

Most of the time when we look at statistics, they are already dated and represent survival rates that are several years old. In the time since the study, new treatments are found and survival rates usually continue to improve. So, new studies, updating survival stats are always relevant. Here is some good news from 2 recent studies of triple negative breast cancer:

Two recent studies in China add definition to the characteristics of triple negative breast cancer in an Asian population:

In research published in Clinical Oncology August 25, 2009 on 770 breast cancer patients at Shenzhen People’s Hospital, 17.1 percent, or 130 cases, were triple negative. The characteristics of TNBC patients:

• 68.9 percent, or 91 patients, were premenopausal

• 53.8 percent, or 71 patients, had tumors larger than 2cm

• 39.4 percent, or 52 patients, had lymph node metastasis

• The 5-year disease-free survival rate was 73.8 percent and the 5-year overall survival rate was 85.7 percent.

And in a study published online in advance of publication in Modern Pathology October 23, 2009 on 7048 breast cancer patients at the Department of Pathology, Singapore General Hospital, 11 percent were triple negative. Eighty-four percent of these were basal-like.

The major take-away is that 73.8 percent of the triple negative breast cancer cases survived five years disease-free. Overall, 85.7 percent survived. This is great news to those newly diagnosed women who are terrified. The great majority of TNBC women survive.


DebbyM's picture
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Thanks Mimi for posting some very valuable information again.


creampuff91344's picture
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Joined: Nov 2008

Mimi, this posting is good for those who are triple negative. I have always felt like those of us who are estrogen positive had a raw deal because we had ongoing treatment that had adverse side effects. I know that there is not a "good" cancer, but this study gives some hope to those who are triple negatve. Thanks for the post. Hugs.


Posts: 2515
Joined: May 2009

I am triple negative......thanks for the info....I appreciate it. I finished ALL my treatment last Friday...Both my oncologists said I have an excellent prognosis.. I was stage I but went to stage II on the table due to size.....2.2 cm...no lymph node involvement. Caught very early.
Again, thanks for the info

DianeBC's picture
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Joined: Jun 2009

Great post again Mimi! We all appreciate your always giving us good information!

Hugs, Diane ♥

mimivac's picture
Posts: 2147
Joined: Dec 2008

My stats are similar to yours, though my tumor was slightly bigger. We do have an excellent prognosis. Hope you really celebrated over the weekend!


CypressCynthia's picture
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Joined: Oct 2009

Thank you so much for sharing this. I am ER+ but my good friend at work is triple neg and I know she will get a boost from hearing this.

Moopy23's picture
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Thank you for this wonderful information, Mimi. You lift my spirits, as you have so often over the last 10 months. I can remember being at an early chemo treatment, when Joe found a PM message from you that brightened my outlook and cheered me, even as I sat there with the IV.

always's picture
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Joined: Oct 2009

Thanks Mimi

I am triple negative and this is great info. Thanks.

jnl's picture
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Thank you for finding and posting excellent info Mimi! I love reading your posts!


Aortus's picture
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Joined: Jan 2009

Mimi, I caught your post while I was having an office hour this afternoon. The kids in my Global Studies class had to wonder why I was in such a bizarrely good mood. Thanks for this find and for all of the useful and affirming information you continue to find for "triple negatives" and the people who love them.


Akiss4me's picture
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Love the pic, Joe!! Pammy

mimivac's picture
Posts: 2147
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Now that makes MY day. Oh, and Joe, just refreshed and saw your smoking dog! LOL. Shame, shame. Doesn't your dog understand the dangers of smoking? And on a cancer site, too!

Echo 2
Posts: 1
Joined: Jul 2009


One must be careful when looking at studies. These 2 studies were done in China on Asian women who lived there. It has been found that there stats differ greatly from American women. According to a 2010 article in the Japanese Journal of Clinical Oncology: "The incidence and mortality of breast cancer are lower in Asia than in the West, particularly in post-menopausal women, but they are increasing. The age patterns of the incidence of breast cancer in Asia differ from in the West: in most Asian countries the peak incidence of breast cancer is at about age 45–50, whereas in western countries the incidence continues to increase even at older ages. Mortality is decreasing in western countries, whereas it is still increasing in Asian nations".

And from an editorial published by Cancer Research UK Lab, Imperial College, London: "To date, all the published data with regard to Asian women has been based on immunohistochemical phenotype and no molecular based studies exist. Such studies would be of interest in terms of examining whether there are any differences between the molecular signature of ‘Western triple negative' as compared to an ‘Asian triple negative' breast cancer, or indeed any differences between different Asian sub-populations." That could play an important role in why the recurrence and survival rates are different from white American women. (The rates are also different for African-American women).

Actually the news for triple negs isn't all bad. Although a recurrence can happen sooner, our greatest risk of recurrence happens around our 2nd to 3rd year anniversary (from diagnosis). After the 3rd anniversary, it drops off drastically. And then again after the 5 yr anniversary it drops significantly. At that point our chance of recurrence is less than the positive receptor women.

Although the National Cancer Institute SEER stats do not differentiate between trip neg and receptor positive cancer, the overall 5 yr relative survival rate for a stage 1-2a is 98%; stage 2b-3c is 83.6%. These are for 1999-2006. (Relative survival is an estimate of the percentage of patients who would be expected to survive the effects of their cancer.)

Until more research is done on the molecular study of tumors of Asian women that would prove otherwise, I'd have to say that our chances of survival are better than what the Chinese studies show!

We really need for the National Cancer Institute to conduct studies strictly on triple negative bc. Unfortunately I was told that no such study was even being considered.

Hang in there, ladies.....they are making progress on PARP inhibitors and other drugs!

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