What Does Receptor Status Mean For Treatment?
When you get a cancer diagnosis and you’re having that discussion with your breast surgeon, some of the things that we look at, of course the size of the tumor, lymph node involvement and a lot of other factors, but one important thing that guides the treatment is your receptor status. The three receptors that we mainly look at is estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, and the HER2 neu oncogene. Those help us guide the treatment and the order of the treatment. Most patients will receive surgery for their cancer. Some patients will receive radiation and some patients will receive chemotherapy. Those receptors guide the order of which you’ll receive those treatments. If a patient has triple negative breast cancer, which means is all the receptors are negative, especially in larger tumors, we have seen through data that those patients benefit from having chemotherapy on the front end.
We know that you’re going to get chemotherapy with that triple negative diagnosis. It’s the timing of the chemotherapy. And the data is now showing that patients with larger tumors, over the size of one centimeter, with triple negative breast cancer, they may benefit from chemotherapy on the front end. We also see that patients who have, whether it’s ERPR positive or negative, but had the HER2 neu gene mutation positive, those patients also will do better with chemotherapy on the front end. And that’s a discussion you need to have with your breast surgeon, as well as your medical oncologist, is if you have those receptors that make you a candidate for chemotherapy on the front end, they may want to recommend that because those patients not only do better from a scientific and data standpoint, we also can watch the progression of your tumor and watch your response to those medications, to see if they’re having a great benefit or not. And it also helps too, with surgical decision making. You may have a larger tumor, and if we shrink up that tumor to a smaller size or where it becomes not clinically evident, you may have just went from a mastectomy to now breast conserving therapy and lumpectomy, where you can maintain your breast.
1. Receptor status guides the order of your treatment.
2. The three receptors are estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, and the HER2 neu oncogene.
3. Patients with triple negative breast cancer (all receptors are negative) benefit from having chemotherapy first.
4. Patients who are ERPR positive or negative, but HER2 positive will also do better with chemotherapy on the front end.
5. It can also help with surgery decisions, whether you need a mastectomy, breast conserving therapy, or lumpectomy.