A new study presented at the 2011 Breast Cancer Symposium has reported on the incidence of stage I to stage III triple negative breast cancer and the rate and pattern of recurrence in a Latina population. Triple negative breast cancer is a subtype of breast cancer that is estrogen receptor negative (ER-), progesterone receptor negative (PR-), and not HER2/neu overexpressing (HER2-). Triple negative breast cancer demonstrates racial differences.

To conduct the study, the authors reviewed the medical records of 1,042 breast cancer patients diagnosed between 2000 and 2005 at Almenara Hospital in Lima, Peru. Clinical data was collected, including age, menopausal status, tumor stage, hormone receptor status and Her2/neu status. There were 215 triple negative breast cancer cases, comprising 20.6% (215) of the entire group. The remainder of this report discusses this group of women, who were followed for a median of 64 months.

A total of 18.6% (40) of the triple negative patients experienced recurrences, with a median age of recurrence 52.5 years (range: 31-93 years) and median disease-free survival of 27 months. According to initial staging, 7.5% (3) of the stage I patients experienced recurrences, 32.5% (13) of stage II had recurrences, and 60% (24) of stage III had recurrences. Almost one third (35%) of the triple negative patients with recurrences had been found to be lymph node negative after mastectomy. The most frequently involved organs were visceral 37.5% (lung=12, liver=3), bone 25% (10), skin 20% (8), central nervous system 12.5% (5) and the opposite breast from the one originally treated 5% (2). There were four women who had never had children, of whom two experienced skin recurrences and two had bone metastases. The authors comment that this is to their knowledge the first study of patterns of recurrence in triple negative nonmetastatic breast cancer in a Latino population. The incidence of triple negative breast cancer was found to be close to that of African-American women (25%).

Please see our article on triple negative breast cancer prognosis for more information.