Role of Immunotherapy in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer

J Natl Compr Canc Netw. 2020 Apr;18(4):479-489. doi: 10.6004/jnccn.2020.7554.


Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) have led to durable clinical remissions in many metastatic cancers. However, the single-agent efficacy of ICIs in breast cancer is low, including in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), which has several key characteristics that enhance ICI responses. Strategies to improve anticancer immune responses in TNBC are urgently needed to extend survival for patients with metastatic disease. This review presents ICI monotherapy response rates and discusses combination strategies with chemotherapy, targeted therapies, and novel immunotherapies. It concludes with a summary of immunotherapy biomarkers in TNBC and a call to action for future directions of research critical to advancing the efficacy of immunotherapy for patients with TNBC.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Immune Checkpoint Proteins
  • Immunotherapy
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy* / adverse effects
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy* / methods
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Triple Negative Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Triple Negative Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Triple Negative Breast Neoplasms / etiology


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors
  • Immune Checkpoint Proteins