Immune Escape during Breast Tumor Progression

Cancer Immunol Res. 2020 Apr;8(4):422-427. doi: 10.1158/2326-6066.CIR-19-0786.


Immunotherapy using checkpoint inhibitors is one of the most promising current cancer treatment strategies. However, in breast cancer, its success has been limited to a subset of patients with triple-negative disease, whose durability of observed responses remain unclear. The lack of detailed understanding of breast tumor immune evasion mechanisms and the treatment of patients with highly heterogeneous metastatic disease contribute to these disappointing results. Here we discuss the current knowledge about immune-related changes during breast tumor progression, with special emphasis on the in situ-to-invasive breast carcinoma transition that may represent a key step of immunoediting in breast cancer. Comprehensive characterization of early-stage disease and better understanding of immunologic drivers of disease progression will likely expand the tools available for immunotherapy and improve patient stratification.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / immunology
  • Breast Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Tumor Escape
  • Tumor Microenvironment*


  • Biomarkers, Tumor