Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors: Therapeutic Tools for Breast Cancer


Department of Human Anatomy, Histology and Embryology, Institute of Neuroscience, Changsha Medical University, Changsha, Hunan, China


Breast cancer is one of the major threats to female health, and its incidence is rapidly increasing in many countries. Currently, breast cancer is treated with surgery, followed by chemotherapy or radiation therapy, or both. However, a substantial proportion of breast cancer patients might have a risk for local relapse that leads to recurrence of their disease and/or metastatic breast cancer. Therefore searching for new and potential strategies for breast cancer treatment remains necessary. Immunotherapy is an attractive and promising approach that can exploit the ability of the immune system to identify and destroy tumors and thus prevent recurrence and metastatic lesions. The most promising and attractive approach of immunotherapeutic research in cancer is the blockade of immune checkpoints. In this review, we discuss the potential of certain inhibitors of immune checkpoints, such as antibodies targeting cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen 4 (CTLA-4), programmed death 1 (PD-1) and lymphocyte activation gene-3 (LAG-3), in breast cancer therapeutics. Immune checkpoint inhibitors may represent future standards of care for breast cancer as monotherapy or combined with standard therapies.