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14.09.2017 | Review Paper | Ausgabe 4/2018

Pathology & Oncology Research 4/2018

Therapeutic Implications of the Molecular and Immune Landscape of Triple-Negative Breast Cancer

Pathology & Oncology Research > Ausgabe 4/2018
Ana C. Gregório, Manuela Lacerda, Paulo Figueiredo, Sérgio Simões, Sérgio Dias, João Nuno Moreira


Treatment and management of breast cancer imposes a heavy burden on public health care, and incidence rates continue to increase. Breast cancer is the most common female neoplasia and primary cause of death among women worldwide. The recognition of breast cancer as a complex and heterogeneous disease, comprising different molecular entities, was a landmark in our understanding of this malignancy. Valuing the impact of the molecular characteristics on tumor behavior enabled a better assessment of a patient’s prognosis and increased the predictive power to therapeutic response and clinical outcome. Molecular heterogeneity is also prominent in the triple-negative breast cancer subtype, and is reflected by the distinct prognostic and patient’s sensitivity to treatment, being chemotherapy the only systemic treatment currently available. From a therapeutic perspective, gene expression profiling of triple-negative tumors has notably contributed to the exploration of new druggable targets and brought to light the need to align these patients to the various therapies according to their triple-negative subtype. Additionally, the higher amount of tumor infiltrating lymphocytes, and the prevalence of an increased expression of PD-1 receptor and its ligand, PD-L1, in triple-negative tumors, created a new treatment opportunity with immune checkpoint inhibitors. This manuscript addresses the current knowledge on the molecular and immune profiles of breast cancer, and its impact on the development of targeted therapies, with a particular emphasis on the triple-negative subtype.

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