Luminal-B breast cancer and novel therapeutic targets

Breast Cancer Res. 2011;13(6):221. doi: 10.1186/bcr2904. Epub 2011 Nov 30.


Gene expression profiling has led to a new molecular classification of breast cancer characterized by four intrinsic subtypes: basal-like, HER2-positive, luminal A, and luminal B. Despite expressing estrogen receptor, the luminal-B subtype confers increased risk of early relapse with endocrine therapy compared with the luminal-A subtype. Although luminal-B definitions vary, the hallmark appears to be increased expression of proliferation-related genes. Several biological pathways are identified as possible contributors to the poor outcomes, and novel agents targeting these pathways are being developed with aims to improve survival. We review the definition of luminal-B breast cancer, its pathological and clinical features, and potential targets for treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects


  • Antineoplastic Agents