Molecular Profiles for Subtyping Triple Negative Breast Cancer


Personalized medicine is at the forefront of medical news and specialized diagnostics that can align patients with the correct treatment are the key to this type of medicine. Jennifer Pietenpol and colleagues have performed extensive research and discovered that triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a heterogeneous disease with at least six subtypes. These subtypes have differing biological behaviors and sensitivities to known therapeutics. Diagnostic assays will help guide personalized and more effective therapy.


About 15-20% of all breast cancer patients are diagnosed with TNBC. Depending on the stage at diagnosis, triple negative breast cancer can be particularly aggressive, and more likely to recur than other breast cancer subtypes. Therefore optimal therapy is needed to combat this disease. The Pietenpol laboratory performed comprehensive analysis of gene expression from 3247 breast cancer tumors resulting in the generation of a data set of 587 TNBCs and classification into six subtypes with differing biological behaviors. This discovery has garnered significant national attention and since the publication of these data, numerous emails from patients have been received requesting that their tumors be subtyped in hopes of alignment with more effective therapy.

Current development is focused on validating the genomic profiles on independent TNBC tumor sets, and developing clinical diagnostic assays. The recent award of a GE Healthymagination Challenge Grant will assist in the further optimization of diagnostic tests to identify each subtype and align therapy. A video associated with that grant is linked through the QR code to the right.

Research Status

Provisional Patent applications have been filed and Dr. Pietenpol has been awarded a GE Healthymagination Challenge Grant.

Jennifer PietenpolBrian LehmannJosh BauerXi Chen
Licensing manager: 
Hassan Naqvi

Featured Video

Vanderbilt Patent Activity

View Vanderbilt University Patents

CTTC on Twitter