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New Year, New Hope for Triple Negative Breast Cancer Patients: Immunotherapy via Checkpoint Inhibitors Study Shows Promising Results

By: Dr. Ashkan Lashkari on January 14, 2015, 11:12 am

Promising news has arrived for women throughout greater Los Angeles who have been diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer. The news comes by way of the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, where initial studies have shown that the use of Checkpoint Inhibitors may be a viable treatment option for patients diagnosed with this often difficult-to-treat type of breast cancer.

Checkpoint inhibitors are drugs which block a strategy in the body known as Programmed Cell Death (PD-1). PD-1 is a protein in the body which restricts specific immune responses. In simple terms, this protein inhibits the body’s ability to fully attack cancer. In a patient diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer, this is unhelpful to say the least. That’s where checkpoint inhibitors can be helpful. Specifically, Keytruda (a fully humanized monoclonal antibody) has shown great promise in blocking the PD-1 strategy, so that the body may better attack the cancer.

This method of utilizing checkpoint inhibitors to treat patients suffering from various types of cancers is not new. Checkpoint inhibitors including Keytruda are already being used to help treat patients suffering from melanoma, lymphoma and certain types of lung cancers. However, its effectiveness in treating patients with triple negative breast cancer has only recently come to light following the results of study presented on December 10, 2014 at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. Initial findings from Phase I of the study showed that Keytruda presented early signs of effectiveness in treating women with recurrent or metastatic triple-negative breast cancer.

This is truly good news for those diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer, as this type of cancer has proven particularly difficult to treat. Unlike many forms of breast cancer, triple negative breast cancer is not receptive to hormone treatment, or other types of cancer treatments. Moreover, triple negative breast cancers are typically more aggressive than other types.

Indeed, for women living with triple negative breast cancer in Southern California, the results of the initial phase of testing of Keytruda are encouraging, and clinicians are moving forward with additional phases of testing in early 2015.

As medical oncologists with offices in West Hills and Tarzana, CA, Dr Omid Shaye, Dr Ashkan Lashkari and Dr. Christopher Ho at the center for Wellness Oncology and Hematology are honored to treat patients throughout Southern California diagnosed with various types of cancer and blood diseases including: Anemia Coagulation Disorders; Hematological Malignancies; Myelodysplastic Syndrome/ Myelodysplasia (MDS); Plasma Cell Disorders. Our expert oncologists also treat patients diagnosed with cancers including anal cancer; bladder cancer; brain cancer; breast cancer; carcinoid cancer; colon cancer; gallbladder cancer; kidney, liver and lung cancer, as well as prostate, pancreatic, stomach, testicular and rectal cancer. Please contact us today by calling 818.346.1773 to schedule an appointment with our team of expert oncologists.