Researchers have identified six subtypes of an aggressive and difficult-to-treat form of breast cancer and identified chemotherapies to which the different subtypes respond in cultured cells and animal tumor models.
Knowing the specific subtype could help physicians determine which therapies would work best in patients with triple-negative breast cancer and also inform the discovery and development of new drugs to treat this aggressive form of breast cancer, the authors suggest.
"In our opinion, the big breakthrough is just being able to say 'this isn't one disease,'" said Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center director Jennifer Pietenpol.
Being able to distinguish distinct biological subtypes of TNBC could help guide the design of select clinical trials for subtypes of breast cancer, point toward new biomarkers for patient selection for a given therapy, and identify new targets for drug discovery, she said.
"This really is the first step in translating genomic information into personalizing therapy for women with a very difficult-to-treat breast cancer," she added.
The study will be published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.