About this Research Topic
Breast cancer was initially labeled as a non-immunogenic tumor type. However, certain subtypes of breast cancer that carry poor prognostic features, such as estrogen receptor (ER)-negative or progesterone receptor (PR) negative status, and lymph node positivity, were shown to have higher levels of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs). Since advanced triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is among the tumors that exhibit high recurrence rate and resistance to the common chemotherapies, clinical trials are in process to evaluate the potential merit of immune checkpoint inhibitors in an effort to find a successful approach for the treatment of such hard-to-treat tumors. Clinical trials for antibodies targeting programmed cell death (PD)-1/PD-L1 immune checkpoint in metastatic TNBC has shown promising therapeutic outcomes. While the response was relatively low, it is still encouraging because the observation of the patients who responded to treatment with immune checkpoint blockade had a favorable prognosis and often showed a significant increase in the overall survival with extended anti-tumor immunity. Therefore, the main challenge is to find ways to enhance the tumor response to such therapy and to convert the non-responders to responders. The beginning of 2019 witnessed the first FDA approval of immunotherapy for the treatment of patients suffering from metastatic PD-L1+/TNBC. The approved combination comprises atezolizumab (anti-PD-L1 mAb) together with nab-paclitaxel chemotherapy. This combination represents the first step of introducing immunotherapy to the standard treatment protocol of breast cancer.
This Research Topic will highlight the recent strategies adopted for expanding the use of PD-1/PD-L1 immune checkpoint inhibitors and enhancing breast cancer response to immunotherapy and converting non-responders to responders. This is in addition to articles focusing on the optimum use of the current biomarkers for better patient selection and immunotherapy response monitoring. We welcome contributions of Original Research articles encompassing both preclinical and clinical studies, in addition to Review and Opinion articles that include, but are not limited to, the following aspects:
1) Tackling immune targets beyond PD1/PD-L1 axis;
2) Metabolic reprogramming for the modulation of the breast tumor immune microenvironment;
3) Epigenetic reprogramming and breast cancer immunotherapy;
4) Novel biomarkers for optimizing breast cancer patients’ selection criteria for immunotherapy;
5) Toxicity and toxicity management for cancer immunotherapy.
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.