Homologous recombination deficiency in triple negative breast cancer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) represents a heterogeneous subtype of breast cancer characterized by an unfavorable prognosis due to its aggressive biology. The median overall survival (OS) for patients with metastatic TNBC is around 9–12 months with conventional cytotoxic agents. Considering this suboptimal outcome, which is induced despite of medical treatment, new therapeutic strategies would be urgently needed. The ultimate goal of precision medicine is to identify specific molecular alterations that permit considering effective targeted drug(s). Germline BRCA mutations occur in 10–20% of TNBC patients while somatic mutations occur in 3–5% of them. Alterations in the homologous recombination (HR) system are typical of BRCA mutant tumors, but can also be identified in tumors that do not carry this mutation, defining a subgroup of patients referred to as BRCAness. In this review, we focus on the role of homologous recombination deficiency (HRD) as both predictive and prognostic factor in different settings of TNBC patients treated with DNA damaging drugs and poly ADP ribose polymerase (PARP) inhibitors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-21
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019


  • BRCA mutations
  • Homologous recombination deficiency
  • PARP inhibitors
  • Platinum agent
  • Triple negative breast cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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