Understanding Triple-Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC): What Every Woman Should Know
Posted: September 14, 2022 | Word Count: 1,440
We often talk about breast cancer as if it is one disease. “Yeah, she had breast cancer,” or “she had a lump removed.” Even, “she has breast cancer. She’s going through chemo.”
But all breast cancers may not be the same. And chances are good that unless you or someone you are close to has been impacted directly, you may not know that.
Most breast cancers are defined by the presence of certain cancer cell receptors – specifically, hormone receptors called estrogen and progesterone receptors and a protein called human epidermal growth factor 2 (HER2). Knowing which receptors are present helps a doctor choose a treatment that a cancer type is most likely to respond to.
About 10-15% of all breast cancers, however, have little to no presence of any of these three receptors. In fact, they’re so named: “triple-negative” (TNBC), for the absence of all three.
Triple-negative breast cancers tend to spread faster than other breast cancers, and because they don't have the hormone receptors or HER2 protein, there are fewer medicines that work against them. This makes TNBC more aggressive than other invasive breast cancers.
“It’s triple-negative breast cancer” is often a much different diagnosis than “it’s breast cancer.”
Younger Women and People of Color Are Most Likely to Receive a TNBC Diagnosis
TNBC can take an especially hard toll. It affects younger women, before many have even started thinking seriously about mammograms or screenings. It is more likely to be diagnosed in women under 40 than most other types of breast cancer, and it is more common in Black and Hispanic women. To add to this, because it’s aggressive, it can become very serious very quickly. Once it spreads, only about 12% of women with metastatic disease survive 5 years.
Treatment Options For TNBC Are Expanding
For women who are facing an advanced TNBC diagnosis, it’s important to talk to the doctor about treatment options. Most patients with advanced or metastatic disease (TNBC that has spread) will receive chemotherapy, but many will progress at some point – even if the chemotherapy works initially. Until recently, there have been no other options after chemotherapy stops working. That is changing.
Trodelvy® (sacituzumab govitecan-hziy) is a different kind of medicine, called an antibody-drug conjugate (ADC), that is approved for adults with second-line and later metastatic TNBC (after two or more prior treatments, including one for metastatic disease). Trodelvy is indicated for TNBC (negative for estrogen and progesterone hormone receptors and HER2) that has spread to other parts of the body (metastatic) or cannot be removed by surgery, and who have received two or more prior treatments, including at least one treatment for metastatic disease. That means when chemotherapy stops working, people with metastatic TNBC have another option.
Please click to see Important Facts about Trodelvy, including Important Warning for low white blood cell count and diarrhea.
If you or someone you know has metastatic TNBC, speak with a doctor about potential therapies, including Trodelvy.
For more information, please visit https://www.trodelvy.com/.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
TRODELVY can cause serious side effects, including low white blood cell count and diarrhea:
- Low white blood cell count (neutropenia) which is common and can sometimes be severe and lead to infections that can be life-threatening or cause death. Your healthcare provider should check your blood cell counts during treatment. If your white blood cell count is too low, your healthcare provider may need to lower your dose, give you a medicine to help prevent low blood cell count with future doses of TRODELVY, or in some cases may stop TRODELVY. Your healthcare provider may need to give you antibiotic medicines if you develop fever while your white blood cell count is low. Call your healthcare provider right away if you develop any of the following signs of infection: fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, or burning or pain when you urinate.
- Severe diarrhea. Diarrhea is common and can be severe. Your healthcare provider should monitor you for diarrhea and give you medicine as needed to help control it. If you lose too much body fluid (dehydration), your healthcare provider may need to give you fluids and electrolytes to replace body salts. If diarrhea happens later in your treatment, your healthcare provider may check you to see if it may be caused by an infection. Your healthcare provider may decrease your dose or stop TRODELVY if your diarrhea is severe and cannot be controlled with anti-diarrheal medicines.
- Call your healthcare provider right away the first time that you get diarrhea during treatment with TRODELVY; if you have black or bloody stools; if you have symptoms of dehydration, such as lightheadedness, dizziness, or faintness; if you are unable to take fluids by mouth due to nausea or vomiting; or if you are not able to get your diarrhea under control within 24 hours.
Do not receive TRODELVY if you have had a severe allergic reaction to TRODELVY. Ask your healthcare provider if you are not sure.
Allergic and infusion-related reactions which can be serious and life-threatening. Tell your healthcare provider or nurse right away if you get any of the following symptoms during your infusion of TRODELVY or within 24 hours after: swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat; hives; skin rash, itching, or flushing of your skin; fever; difficulty breathing or wheezing; lightheadedness, dizziness, feeling faint, or pass out; or chills or shaking chills (rigors).
Nausea and vomiting are common with TRODELVY and can sometimes be severe. Before each dose of TRODELVY, you will receive medicines to help prevent nausea and vomiting along with medicines to take home with instructions about how to take them. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have nausea or vomiting that is not controlled with the medicines prescribed for you. Your healthcare provider may decide to decrease your dose or stop TRODELVY if your nausea and vomiting is severe and cannot be controlled with anti-nausea medicines.
Before receiving TRODELVY, tell your healthcare provider about all of your medical conditions, including if you:
- have been told that you carry a gene for UGT1A1*28, which can increase your risk of getting side effects with TRODELVY, especially low white blood cell counts, with or without a fever, and low red blood cell counts.
- have liver problems.
- are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. TRODELVY can harm your unborn baby. Your healthcare provider should check to see if you are pregnant before you start receiving TRODELVY. TRODELVY may cause fertility problems in females, which could affect your ability to have a baby. Talk to your healthcare provider if fertility is a concern for you.
- Females who can become pregnant should use effective birth control during treatment and for 6 months after your last dose of TRODELVY. Talk to your healthcare provider about birth control choices that may be right for you during this time.
- Males with a female partner who can become pregnant should use effective birth control during treatment and for 3 months after your last dose of TRODELVY.
- Tell your healthcare provider right away if you or your partner become pregnant during treatment with TRODELVY.
- are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if TRODELVY passes into your breastmilk and can harm your baby. Do not breastfeed during treatment and for 1 month after your last dose of TRODELVY.
Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Certain medicines may affect the way TRODELVY works.
The most common side effects of TRODELVY include feeling tired or weak, hair loss, decreased red blood cell count, constipation, decreased appetite, rash, and stomach-area (abdominal) pain or discomfort.
These are not all of the possible side effects of TRODELVY. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
WHAT IS TRODELVY?
TRODELVY® (sacituzumab govitecan-hziy) is a prescription medicine used to treat adults with triple-negative breast cancer (negative for estrogen and progesterone hormone receptors and HER2) that has spread to other parts of the body (metastatic) or cannot be removed by surgery, and who have received two or more prior treatments, including at least one treatment for metastatic disease.
It is not known if TRODELVY is safe and effective in people with moderate or severe liver problems or in children.
Please click to see Important Facts about Trodelvy, including Important Warning.
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