ecancermedicalscience

Review

Tumour dormancy and clinical implications in breast cancer

21 May 2013
L Gelao, C Criscitiello, L Fumagalli, M Locatelli, S Manunta, A Esposito, I Minchella, A Goldhirsch, G Curigliano

The aim of adjuvant therapy in breast cancer is to reduce the risk of recurrence. Some patients develop metastases many years after apparently successful treatment of their primary cancer. Tumour dormancy may explain the long time between initial diagnosis and treatment of cancer, and occurrence of relapse. The regulation of the switch from clinical dormancy to cancer regrowth in locoregional and distant sites is poorly understood. In this review, we report some data supporting the existence of various factors that may explain cancer dormancy including genetic and epigenetic changes, angiogenic switch, microenvironment, and immunosurveillance. A better definition and understanding of these factors should allow the identification of patients at high risk of relapse and to develop new therapeutic strategies in order to improve prognosis.

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