Biological subtypes of breast cancer: Prognostic and therapeutic implications

World J Clin Oncol. 2014 Aug 10;5(3):412-24. doi: 10.5306/wjco.v5.i3.412.


Breast cancer is a heterogeneous complex of diseases, a spectrum of many subtypes with distinct biological features that lead to differences in response patterns to various treatment modalities and clinical outcomes. Traditional classification systems regarding biological characteristics may have limitations for patient-tailored treatment strategies. Tumors with similar clinical and pathological presentations may have different behaviors. Analyses of breast cancer with new molecular techniques now hold promise for the development of more accurate tests for the prediction of recurrence. Gene signatures have been developed as predictors of response to therapy and protein gene products that have direct roles in driving the biology and clinical behavior of cancer cells are potential targets for the development of novel therapeutics. The present review summarizes current knowledge in breast cancer molecular biology, focusing on novel prognostic and predictive factors.

Keywords: Breast cancer; Predictive factors; Prognostic factors; Subtypes; Tumor biology.

Publication types

  • Review