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10.3389_fonc.2020.600573.pdf (705.95 kB)

Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors in Triple Negative Breast Cancer Treatment: Promising Future Prospects

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journal contribution
submitted on 2024-04-29, 06:22 and posted on 2024-04-29, 06:22 authored by Remy Thomas, Ghaneya Al-Khadairi, Julie Decock

Immunotherapy has emerged as the fifth pillar of cancer treatment alongside surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy. Immune checkpoint inhibitors are the current superheroes of immunotherapy, unleashing a patient’s own immune cells to kill tumors and revolutionizing cancer treatment in a variety of cancers. Although breast cancer was historically believed to be immunologically silent, treatment with immune checkpoint inhibitors has been shown to induce modest responses in metastatic breast cancer. Given the inherent heterogeneity of breast tumors, this raised the question whether certain breast tumors might benefit more from immune-based interventions and which cancer cell-intrinsic and/or microenvironmental factors define the likelihood of inducing a potent and durable anti-tumor immune response. In this review, we will focus on triple negative breast cancer as immunogenic breast cancer subtype, and specifically discuss the relevance of tumor mutational burden, the plethora and diversity of tumor infiltrating immune cells in addition to the immunoscore, the presence of immune checkpoint expression, and the microbiome in defining immune checkpoint blockade response. We will highlight the current immune checkpoint inhibitor treatment options, either as monotherapy or in combination with standard-of-care treatment modalities such as chemotherapy and targeted therapy. In addition, we will look into the potential of immunotherapy-based combination strategies using immune checkpoint inhibitors to enhance both innate and adaptive immune responses, or to establish a more immune favorable environment for cancer vaccines. Finally, the review will address the need for unambiguous predictive biomarkers as one of the main challenges of immune checkpoint blockade. To conclude, the potential of immune checkpoint blockade for triple negative breast cancer treatment could be enhanced by exploration of aforementioned factors and treatment strategies thereby providing promising future prospects.

Other Information

Published in: Frontiers in Oncology
See article on publisher's website:



  • English



Publication Year

  • 2021

License statement

This Item is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Institution affiliated with

  • Hamad Bin Khalifa University
  • Qatar Biomedical Research Institute - HBKU
  • College of Health and Life Sciences - HBKU
  • Cancer Research Center - QBRI