Disease Information

Breast Cancer Research

Not all types of breast cancer are the same and some types of breast cancer treatment have well-established treatment protocols that work well for many patients. However, triple negative breast cancer is one type of breast cancer that doesn’t have a well-defined treatment plan. Because this affects their patients and their ability to provide effective care, Virginia Oncology Associates’ cancer specialists are leading the way to finding a new triple negative breast cancer treatment option through a clinical trial that is now available at locations in Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, and Virginia Beach. This research brings new hope for triple negative breast cancer patients for a new treatment option and renewed hope for life.

Breast cancer research trial – why?

To bring a new treatment to market, certain requirements must be met for FDA (Federal Drug Administration) approval to show that the treatment is effective and safe, and how much is advisable (dosing). Clinical research is the process used to achieve this approval.

The treatment has already undergone several studies at earlier phases of the clinical research process. Therefore the treatment being studied is considered safe for humans and is carefully administered by cancer research specialists in our offices.

Patients on the clinical trial are monitored very carefully throughout the treatment and afterwards. If the new cancer treatment passes through all phases of clinical research with approved FDA results, then it’s eligible to become a widely-used treatment that would be generally available for cancer doctors to offer patients.

Breast Cancer Hormone Receptors

It’s important to understand a bit about the three hormone receptors involved with many breast cancers. Breast cancer cells may be receptive to one of the following hormones:

  1. Estrogen
  2. Progesterone
  3. HER2

As the cancer cells attract the hormone the cancer can grow and spread. The types of treatments are based on the type of hormone the breast cancer cells are receiving.

Breast cancer treatments exist now for all three forms of hormone receptor-related breast cancer. When there are no hormone receptors on the cancer cells it’s considered triple negative breast cancer. This particular type is a bit more challenging to treat and the reason for further clinical research.

What is triple negative breast cancer?

The oncologist will find out which receptors are active to choose the breast cancer treatment that he/she feels will work best for your cancer. The existing breast cancer treatment options may target one, two, or all three known hormone receptors. However, as implied by its name, “triple negative” breast cancer neither involves nor responds to any treatments targeting the three receptors. Because of this, triple negative breast cancer is considered to be particularly aggressive.

Since people diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer don’t typically respond as well to the approved treatments that involve the three receptors, we seek a new approach. This potential option is a clinical trial with the hope of a new, successful targeted treatment designed specifically for triple negative breast cancer. Virginia Oncology Associates’ passion for finding an effective treatment transforms into the potential of hope for patients.

Is the triple negative breast cancer clinical trial for me?

You will meet with a clinical research nurse at one of the Virginia Oncology Associates locations to review the trial’s selection criteria, which include but may not be limited to:

  • A tumor that is any size with no axillary lymph nodes involvement;
  • No metastatic disease (cancer has not spread elsewhere);
  • No previous treatments;
  • Good cardiac function.

It’s our hope that the clinical trial results will make a helpful impact and then ultimately provide an FDA-approved treatment option for this specific form of breast cancer.

This breast cancer clinical trial is available at select Virginia Oncology Associates locations including Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, and Virginia Beach.

For more information on participating in this trial or you would like to learn more about our other clinical trials, please ask your oncologist. A complete list of all of the trials available through Virginia Oncology Associates can be seen at: http://virginiacancer.com/treatments-services/clinical-trials-research/.

United in Healing with the US Oncology Network