Dr. Cynthia Ma on Immunotherapy in TNBC

September 15, 2016

Cynthia Ma, MD, PhD, associate professor of Medicine, Medical Oncology at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, discusses the role of immunotherapy in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC).

There are several trials investigating immunotherapy in TNBC, says Ma. Washington University School of Medicine is participating in a phase I/II study of pembrolizumab (Keytruda) in combination with eribulin (Halaven) which is ongoing. There are also combination therapy trials of pembrolizumab with other immunotherapy agents in TNBC. In addition to pembrolizumab, there are PD-L1 antibodies in development, many of which are being investigated in combination with chemotherapy in this space.

TNBC has a high mutational load which may make it more immunogenic. This is particularly true when compared to ER-positive patients. In neoadjuvant studies, immune-cell infiltrates have been shown to correlate with responses and long-term outcomes, so there is some evidence that TNBC may be more immunogenic, says Ma.