Advances in systemic therapy for metastatic breast cancer: future perspectives

Med Oncol. 2017 Jul;34(7):119. doi: 10.1007/s12032-017-0975-5. Epub 2017 May 19.


Breast cancer (BC) is the most common cancer in women worldwide. One in eight women will develop the disease in her lifetime. Notwithstanding the incredible progress made in this field, BC still represents the second most common cause of cancer-related death in women. Targeted drugs have revolutionised breast cancer treatment and improved the prognosis as well as the life expectancy of millions of women. However, the phenomenon of primary and secondary pharmacological resistance is becoming increasingly evident, limiting the efficacy of these agents and calling for a better in-depth knowledge and understanding of the biology as well as the biochemical crosstalk underlying the disease. The advent of laboratory technologies in the clinical setting such as the routine use of next generation sequencing has allowed identification of new genetic alterations as well as providing a precise picture of the molecular landscapes of each tumour. Consequently, new specific therapeutic approaches are becoming available to minimise or delay the occurrence of resistance. In this review, we analyse the latest research and news from the clinical development side for each BC subtype.

Keywords: BC; Cancer; Metastatic BC; Systemic.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Estrogen Receptor alpha / genetics
  • Female
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / methods
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy / methods
  • Mutation
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / metabolism
  • Receptors, Progesterone / metabolism
  • Triple Negative Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Triple Negative Breast Neoplasms / therapy


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • ESR1 protein, human
  • Estrogen Receptor alpha
  • Receptors, Progesterone
  • ERBB2 protein, human
  • Receptor, ErbB-2