TWO CLINICAL TRIALS TARGET ‘TRIPLE NEGATIVE’ BREAST CANCER
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
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
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
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
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.
Click here for a high-quality photograph of Dr
Contact: Eileen Scahill, Medical Center Public Affairs and Media Relations, 614-293-3737, or
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