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PICI BioTrust Decodes Triple Negative Breast Cancer in TRIBUTE Collaboration


Metastatic triple negative breast cancer is aggressive, deadly and tough-to-treat. Many patients survive only 15 to 18 months after diagnosis. But in 2018, a landmark study showed that immunotherapy (atezolizumab) and chemotherapy (nab-paclitaxel) combined helped women and men live longer compared to chemotherapy alone. Shortly after in 2019, the combination became the first FDA approved immunotherapy-based treatment for breast cancer. The news was a win for patients. However, not all patients responded. And, some who initially responded later saw their cancer progress.

Enter PICI

Why does this treatment slow cancer growth in some patients but not others? And what can we learn to make this treatment an option for more women and men? We brought together the leading experts in breast cancer to tackle these tough questions in our TRIBUTE study (PICI0040). Through the PICI BioTrust’s sample repository and assay suite, we are collecting tumor tissue, blood samples and microbiome samples from patients treated with the combination of immunotherapy and chemotherapy. Throughout the project, we will comprehensively study the patient and their immune system’s response to treatment.


The TRIBUTE study aims to discover biomarkers, or biological indicators, that can predict which patients will respond to the treatment and whether the cancer is advancing. We also want to uncover which alternative treatments are better for patients who do not respond to the combination therapy. With this research, we intend to inform subsequent clinical trials to provide the best treatments for women and men with this deadly cancer.