September 30, 2019 - 17:32 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Treating triple negative breast cancer with immunotherapy alongside chemotherapy could “substantially” reduce the number of recurrences of the cancer, research has suggested, The Independent reports.
Triple negative breast cancer is an aggressive form of breast cancer that is diagnosed when the cancerous tumour tests negative for three receptors: the hormones oestrogen and progesterone, and the HER2 protein.
The uncommon cancer is typically treated by surgery and chemotherapy, Cancer Research UK says.
However, research presented at the ESMO 2019 Congress – currently taking place in Barcelona, Spain – claims that also treating the condition with immunotherapy could prove significantly beneficial.
Immunotherapy is a form of cancer treatment that helps the body’s immune system learn to recognise and attack cancer cells.
A trial investigating the benefits of treating triple negative breast cancer patients with immunotherapy and chemotherapy was conducted across 124 sites in 21 countries between March 2017 and September 2018.
All individuals taking part in the study, of which there were 1,174, underwent surgery and cycles of chemotherapy to shrink their cancerous tumours.
Of these, 784 participants received the immunotherapy drug pembrolizumab before and after undergoing surgery.
Meanwhile, 390 of the participants were given a placebo before and after surgery.
According to the study’s findings, 64.8 per cent of those who took the immunotherapy drug later showed no signs of cancer in their tissue, 13.6 per cent more than those who took the placebo.