J Cancer 2021; 12(23):6949-6963. doi:10.7150/jca.64205 This issue


Advancements in Human Breast Cancer Targeted Therapy and Immunotherapy

Mayassa J. Bou-Dargham1#, Sophia Draughon1#, Vance Cantrell1, Zahraa I. Khamis1,2✉, Qing-Xiang Amy Sang1,3✉

1. Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, United States of America.
2. Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Faculty of Sciences-I, Lebanese University, Beirut, Lebanon.
3. Institute of Molecular Biophysics, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, United States of America.
#These authors contributed equally to this work.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). See http://ivyspring.com/terms for full terms and conditions.
Bou-Dargham MJ, Draughon S, Cantrell V, Khamis ZI, Sang QXA. Advancements in Human Breast Cancer Targeted Therapy and Immunotherapy. J Cancer 2021; 12(23):6949-6963. doi:10.7150/jca.64205. Available from https://www.jcancer.org/v12p6949.htm

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Graphic abstract

Human breast cancer treatment regimens have evolved greatly due to the significant advances in understanding the molecular mechanisms and pathways of the common subtypes of breast cancer. In this review, we discuss recent progress in breast cancer targeted therapy and immunotherapy as well as ongoing clinical trials. We also highlight the potential of combination therapies and personalized approaches to improve clinical outcomes. Targeted therapies have surpassed the hormone receptors and the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) to include many other molecules in targetable pathways such as the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), poly (adenosine diphosphate-ribose) polymerase (PARP), and cyclin-dependent kinase 4/6 (CDK4/6). However, resistance to targeted therapy persists, underpinning the need for more efficacious therapies. Immunotherapy is considered a milestone in breast cancer treatments, including the engineered immune cells (CAR-T cell therapy) to better target the tumor cells, vaccines to stimulate the patient's immune system against tumor antigens, and checkpoint inhibitors (PD-1, PD-L1, and CTLA4) to block molecules that mediate immune inhibition. Targeted therapies and immunotherapy tested in breast cancer clinical trials are discussed here, with special emphasis on combinatorial approaches which are believed to maximize treatment efficacy and enhance patient survival.

Keywords: Human breast cancer, targeted therapy, immunotherapy