Triple-negative breast cancers are a heterogeneous group and may not always be associated with lymph node spread, a new study shows.
The study of 145 triple negative breast cancers (i.e, cancer which is estrogen receptor-negative, progesterone receptor-negative and HER2-negative) in 128 women found that about 23% were moderate or low-grade lesions, said Cecilia Mercado, MD, of New York University School of Medicine, and an author of the study.
Triple negative breast cancer is found in about 15% of breast cancer patients and the patients are usually younger.
The study found that 11 of the 145 cancers had a low histologic grade. Only one of these patients had evidence that their cancer had spread into their lymph nodes. Twenty-three cancers were moderate grade lesions; only five of these 23 had spread into the lymph nodes. That compares to 37 of 111 cancers with a high histologic grade which had lymph node metastases, Dr. Mercado said.
"Our preliminary results show that triple negative breast cancers are a heterogeneous group. Although many are high grade lesions, some are moderate or low grade demonstrating a lower rate of lymph node metastasis," Dr. Mercado said.
The full results of this study will be presented on Monday, April 14, 2008 during the American Roentgen Ray Society's annual meeting in Washington, DC.
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