Breast cancer

Nadia Harbeck, Frédérique Penault-Llorca, Javier Cortes, Michael Gnant, Nehmat Houssami, Philip Poortmans, Kathryn Ruddy, Janice Tsang, Fatima Cardoso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

299 Scopus citations


Breast cancer is the most frequent malignancy in women worldwide and is curable in ~70–80% of patients with early-stage, non-metastatic disease. Advanced breast cancer with distant organ metastases is considered incurable with currently available therapies. On the molecular level, breast cancer is a heterogeneous disease; molecular features include activation of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2, encoded by ERBB2), activation of hormone receptors (oestrogen receptor and progesterone receptor) and/or BRCA mutations. Treatment strategies differ according to molecular subtype. Management of breast cancer is multidisciplinary; it includes locoregional (surgery and radiation therapy) and systemic therapy approaches. Systemic therapies include endocrine therapy for hormone receptor-positive disease, chemotherapy, anti-HER2 therapy for HER2-positive disease, bone stabilizing agents, poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitors for BRCA mutation carriers and, quite recently, immunotherapy. Future therapeutic concepts in breast cancer aim at individualization of therapy as well as at treatment de-escalation and escalation based on tumour biology and early therapy response. Next to further treatment innovations, equal worldwide access to therapeutic advances remains the global challenge in breast cancer care for the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number66
JournalNature Reviews Disease Primers
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Breast cancer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this