The FDA has approved only a few drugs to treat triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), and last month saw Merck & Co., Inc’s Keytruda (pembrolizumab) gain accelerated approval for the condition. Commercial payers have indicated a willingness to cover it at parity with Roche Group member Genentech USA, Inc.’s Tecentriq (atezolizumab), as well as preferring Keytruda over Tecentriq, but providers are a bit more uncertain about how they will prescribe the newly approved therapy. The condition, though, remains largely unmanaged by payers, a source tells AIS Health.
Some breast cancers test positive for estrogen receptors, progesterone receptors or overexpression of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2), but people with TNBC do not have these proteins, which limits their treatment options, according to the American Cancer Society. It also is a fairly aggressive cancer and recurs more often than other breast cancers.