Targeted therapies for breast cancer

J Clin Invest. 2011 Oct;121(10):3797-803. doi: 10.1172/JCI57152. Epub 2011 Oct 3.


In recent years the description of well-defined molecular subtypes of breast cancer, together with the identification of the driving genetic alterations and signaling pathways, has led to the clinical development of a number of successful molecular targeted agents. This is best exemplified in the subset of HER2-amplified breast cancers, in which an increasing number of active agents are changing the natural history of this aggressive disease. Other targets are under exploration, and the clinical development of these agents will require a change from the current large, randomized trials in unselected patient populations to smaller trials in groups with a molecularly defined tumor type. In addition, combinatorial approaches that act on the secondary mutations and/or compensatory pathways in resistant tumors may markedly improve on the effects of targeted agents used alone.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy / methods*
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy / trends
  • Mutation
  • Neoplasms, Hormone-Dependent / genetics
  • Neoplasms, Hormone-Dependent / metabolism
  • Neoplasms, Hormone-Dependent / therapy
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / metabolism
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / metabolism
  • Receptors, Estrogen / metabolism
  • Receptors, Progesterone / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction


  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors
  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Receptors, Progesterone
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases
  • ERBB2 protein, human
  • Receptor, ErbB-2