Hormone Receptor Negative
Women whose cancers are hormone receptor negative (estrogen and progesterone receptor negative) do not benefit from endocrine (hormone) therapy. Their only choice is chemotherapy. Some women with very small cancers may not need treatment, and some women, especially those who are quite elderly and/or in poor health, may not receive chemotherapy. Note that a few women classified as hormone receptor negative receive endocrine therapy because there is a question on one of the receptor tests that the cancer might be at least partially positive and might get benefit. The graphs show the rate of use of adjuvant therapy by size of cancer and lymph node status.
Clinical Research Studies
Current best treatments have markedly improved the survival rate for women with breast cancer compared to what was available even 10 or 20 years ago. These advances have been possible through clinical studies. Over the last 35 years, tens of thousands of women in the United States and around the world have been treated on these studies, thus not only getting the best care themselves, but also making their care part of the solution to make things better for women in the future. At RPCI, many women ask if a specific clinical study is an option for them.
Participating in such studies is voluntary, and participants may quit a clinical study at any time, without jeopardizing their standard of care. The Breast Program at RPCI provides women the opportunity to join clinical studies of adjuvant therapy that are being conducted around the United States as part of the national clinical studies system. Many RPCI physicians take leadership roles in this system to develop new treatments.