Two Clinical Trials Target ‘Triple Negative’ Breast Cancer  

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Posted: 8/31/2010

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC-James) are recruiting patients for two clinical trials for women with “triple negative” breast cancer, an aggressive form of breast cancer that resists treatment.

“We have launched a major clinical-trial and laboratory research effort to develop new therapies that are effective for this difficult-to-treat disease,” says Dr. Charles Shapiro, director of breast medical oncology at the OSUCCC-James. “Our goal is find an effective therapy for this difficult-to-treat disease.”

According to the American Cancer Society, 194,280 Americans will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, and 40,610 will die from the disease. Triple negative breast cancer accounts for about 15 percent of all cases. Young women and African American women more likely to develop the disease.

Patients are said to have triple negative breast cancer when their tumors lack three hormone receptors that are used to determine treatment for other forms of breast cancer: the estrogen receptor, the progesterone receptor and the HER-2 receptor.

Consequently, treatments for other forms of breast cancer, which target one or more of these receptors, are not effective for triple negative breast cancer, and women who develop the disease generally have a poor prognosis.

Researchers at OSUCCC-James developed and initiated the two separate triple negative breast cancer treatment trials, which are funded by the National Cancer Institute and combine chemotherapy with the following novel agents:

  • PARP inhibitors: PARP – which stands for poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase – is an enzyme involved in repairing DNA damage. In cancer cells, the PARP repair system helps cancer cells survive the effects of chemotherapy. PARP inhibitors are designed to hinder this repair process and make cancer cells more vulnerable to chemotherapy.


  • Gamma secretase inhibitors: These agents block a protein called Notch, which helps orchestrate the formation of breast tissue and plays an important role in controlling the number and development of breast-tissue stem cells. Notch over-activation helps cancer cells proliferate. Gamma secretase inhibitors block Notch activation and slow cancer-cell growth.


“Until very recently, chemotherapy was the only option for patients with triple negative breast cancer,” says Shapiro, a leading breast cancer authority. “We believe these novel agents offer new hope for these individuals.”

For more information, call the JamesLine at 614-293-5066 or 1-800-293-5066.

The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (cancer.osu.edu) is one of only 40 Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the United States designated by the National Cancer Institute. Ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top cancer hospitals in the nation, The James is the 180-bed adult patient-care component of the cancer program at The Ohio State University. The OSUCCC-James is one of only seven funded programs in the country approved by the NCI to conduct both Phase I and Phase II clinical trials.

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Eileen Scahill
Medical Center Public Affairs and Media Relations
614-293-3737
Eileen.Scahill@osumc.edu



Tags: Breast Cancer; Breast Health; Cancer; Clinical/Translational Research; James Cancer Hospital; OSU Medical Center

The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James) 300 W. 10th Ave. Columbus, OH 43210 Phone: 1-800-293-5066 | Email: jamesline@osumc.edu