Open Access Research article

Clinicopathological, therapeutic and prognostic features of the triple-negative tumors in moroccan breast cancer patients (experience of Hassan II university hospital in Fez)

Yousra Akasbi1*, Sanae Bennis23, Fouad Abbass34, Kawtar Znati3, Khalid Amrani Joutei4, Afaf Amarti3 and Omar EL Mesbahi1

Author Affiliations

1 Medical Oncology unit, Hassan II University Hospital, 19 Rue Jebel Zalagh 2 Narjiss C, 30006 Fez, Morocco

2 Laboratory Biology of cancers-Faculty of Medicine & Pharmacy, Fez, Morocco

3 Department of Pathology, Hassan II University Hospital, Fez, Morocco

4 Laboratory of Bioactive Molecules, Faculty of Sciences & Technology, Fez, Morocco

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BMC Research Notes 2011, 4:500  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-4-500

Published: 16 November 2011



Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is defined as a group of breast carcinomas that are negative for expression of hormone receptors (ER, PR) and Her2, we can distinguish between two groups: basal-like (ER-, PR-, Her2-, cytokeratin (CK) 5/6+ and/or Her1+) and unclassified subtype (ER-, PR-, Her2-, Her1- and CK5/6-).

The aim of this study is to determine the clinicopathological, histological, therapeutic and prognostic features associated with this type of breast cancer.


This is a retrospective study of 366 female breast cancer patients, diagnosed between January 2007 and June 2010 at the Department of Pathology. Epidemiological, clinical, histological, therapeutic and evolutive data were analyzed. OS and DFS rates were estimated by Kaplan-Meier analysis and a log-rank test to estimate outcome.


A total of 64 women were identified as having TNBC (17.5% of all female breast cancer patients), 12.6% were basal-like, 4.9% were unclassified subtype, with a median age of 45 years. The median histological tumor diameter was 4.3 cm. TNBC were most often associated with a high grade, 49.2% grade III (53% for unclassified subtype, 47.6% for basal-like). Vascular invasion was found in 26.6% of cases (22% for unclassified subtype and 28.3% for basal-like). For the lymph node involvement: 51% had positive lymph nodes, and 22.4% had distant metastases. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy was administered to 18% patients with 26% of complete pathologic response; therefore adjuvant chemotherapy was given to 82%. 98% received anthracycline based regimen and only 30% received taxanes.

The Kaplan-Meier curves based showed the lowest survival probability at 3-years (49% of OS, and 39% of DFS).


TNBC is associated with young age, high grade tumors, advanced stage at diagnosis, difference chemo response compared to other subtypes, and shortest survival. Critical to optimal future management is accurate identification of truly triple negative disease, and adequately powered prospective TNBC trials to establish treatment efficacy and define predictive biomarkers.

Triple negative breast cancer; Clinico-pathological; Prognostic features