The peripheral immune landscape of breast cancer: Clinical findings and in vitro models for biomarker discovery

Ana Sofia Rocha Batalha, Sofia Ferreira, Catarina Brito

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Breast cancer is the deadliest female malignancy worldwide and, while much is known about phenotype and function of infiltrating immune cells, the same attention has not been paid to the peripheral immune compartment of breast cancer patients. To obtain faster, cheaper, and more precise monitoring of patients’ status, it is crucial to define and analyze circulating immune profiles. This review compiles and summarizes the disperse knowledge on the peripheral immune profile of breast cancer patients, how it departs from healthy individuals and how it changes with disease progression. We propose this data to be used as a starting point for validation of clinically relevant biomarkers of disease progression and therapy response, which warrants more thorough investigation in patient cohorts of specific breast cancer subtypes. Relevant clinical findings may also be ex-plored experimentally using advanced 3D cellular models of human cancer–immune system inter-actions, which are under intensive development. We review the latest findings and discuss the strengths and limitations of such models, as well as the future perspectives. Together, the scientific advancement of peripheral biomarker discovery and cancer–immune crosstalk in breast cancer will be instrumental to uncover molecular mechanisms and putative biomarkers and drug targets in an all-human setting.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1305
Pages (from-to)1-28
Number of pages28
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2 Mar 2021


  • 3D cell models
  • Biomarker
  • Blood
  • Breast cancer
  • Immunosuppression
  • Macrophage
  • MDSC
  • NK cell
  • Patient data
  • T cell


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