From OHC, Specialists in the Treatment of Adult Cancers and Blood Disorders

October 10, 2019

OHC is evaluating a new treatment option for triple negative breast cancer through its clinical trials program. The results of the trial may provide new hope for women diagnosed with this aggressive form of breast cancer.

Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a cancer that tests negative for estrogen receptors, progesterone receptors, and excess HER2 protein. These results mean the growth of the cancer is not fueled by the hormones estrogen and progesterone, or by the HER2 protein, so, triple-negative breast cancer does not respond to hormonal therapy medicines or medicines that target HER2 protein receptors.

To help discover new treatment options, OHC researchers selected to participate in the clinical trial, KEYNOTE 522, that is investigating the use of the immunotherapy drug pembrolizumab (Keytruda) plus chemotherapy versus chemotherapy alone for the treatment of TNBC.

“Keytruda plus chemotherapy demonstrated a statistically significant improvement according to new data from an earlier study,” said Patrick J. Ward, MD, PhD, medical oncologist, hematologist, and co-director of research at OHC. “This is important for several reasons. First, triple-negative breast cancer is very aggressive. Second, the prognosis isn’t as good as with other breast cancers. Third, there aren’t as many targeted treatments available. And fourth, it’s more likely to spread or return after treatment.”

“The data for 18 months shows that in two out of three cases, the cancer was gone after treatment. And there were fewer instances of the cancer returning,” Dr. Ward explained. “We are continuing to monitor these patients to see if they remain cancer-free. If they do, this could be life-changing for women with this aggressive cancer. This could be really huge.”

Madeline Gillotte is a patient of Dr. Ward who was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer. When Dr. Ward told her about the clinical trial, she responded, “Why wouldn’t I!”

“I knew the medicine had been proven to help with other cancers,” said Madeline, a Pleasant Ridge resident, “so, if there’s a chance it can help with this [type of cancer], why wouldn’t I want to participate in the trial? So far, I feel pretty good. I don’t feel sick and I’m not tired. I really can’t complain.”

If successful, the combination of Keytruda and chemotherapy will offer another treatment option and a new sense of hope for these patients, many of whom are younger than 50 and still have children to care for.

“When patients choose OHC, they not only get the latest treatments, but as part of their individualized treatment plan, our doctors help determine if a clinical trial is available for their cancer,” Dr. Ward added. “We’re unwavering in our commitment to bring an end to cancer, and until we do, we will provide the newest and best treatments to cancer patients.”

OHC is at the forefront of the latest treatments for cancer through its clinical trials program. For more information about breast cancer treatments, OHC clinical trials, or a second opinion, please visit or call 1-888-649-4800.

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