Breast cancer is a systemic disease with a primarily local component. Besides surgical resection and irradiation of the locoregional tumor setting, central therapeutic aim is the elimination of disseminated micrometastatic tumor cells using cytostatic and/or hormonal treatment. Nevertheless, in the course of time a majority of patients suffer from systemic recurrence in the form of distant metastases. Intriguingly, in this connection, intratumoral cytotoxic T lymphocytes might serve as independent predictors of treatment efficacy and clinical outcome. Loss of immune balance (tumor dormancy) during intensive cross talk between T cells and tumor cells in the bone marrow microenvironment is suggested one reason for distant metastatic relapse. In this clinical context, further supportive therapies become increasingly attractive, taking immunological features of breast cancer cells into special account. The present review aims to dissect bone marrow-derived cellular antitumor immune responses and translational immunologic treatment options regarding their actual relevance to patients' clinical benefit and their future directions in breast cancer management.
Type of Publication:
Journal article published