Inflammation, immunosuppressive microenvironment and breast cancer: opportunities for cancer prevention and therapy
Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed malignancy and a leading cause of cancer-related death in women worldwide. It also exhibits pronounced racial disparities in terms of incidence and clinical outcomes. There has been a growing interest in research community to better understand the role of the microenvironment in cancer. Several lines of evidence have highlighted the significance of chronic inflammation at the local and/or systemic level in breast tumor pathobiology. Inflammation can influence breast cancer progression, metastasis and therapeutic outcome by establishing a tumor supportive immune microenvironment. These processes are mediated through a variety of cytokines and hormones that exert their biological actions either locally or distantly via systemic circulation. Targeting of immune and inflammatory pathways has met tremendous success in some cancers underscoring the importance of research to further our understanding of these systems in breast cancer. This knowledge can be helpful not only in the development of novel prevention and therapeutic strategies, but also help in better prediction of therapeutic responses in patients. This review summarizes some of the significant findings on the role of inflammation in breast cancer to gain collective molecular and mechanistic insights. We also discuss ongoing efforts and future outlook to exploit the existing knowledge for improved breast cancer management.