Immunotherapeutic Approaches for the Treatment of Breast Cancer

Keith L. Knutson, Kathy Schiffman, Kristine Rinn, Mary L. Disis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The application of immunotherapeutic principles to the treatment and prevention of breast cancer is a relatively new undertaking. Although cytokine infusions, cancer vaccines, and T cell therapy have been extensively studied in solid tumors such as melanoma and renal cell carcinoma, the therapeutic efficacy of these approaches is not well explored in breast cancer. The recent definition of tumor- specific immunity in breast cancer patients and the identification of several breast cancer antigens has generated enthusiasm for the application of immune-based therapies to the treatment of breast malignancies. In general, immunotherapies can be considered either non-specific, such as a general immunomodulator (e.g., a cytokine), or tumor-specific (e.g., a vaccine that targets breast cancer tumor antigens). This review describes three major immunotherapeutic strategies that have the potential to enhance or generate an antibreast cancer T cell immune response: (i) cytokine therapy; (ii) cancer vaccines; and (iii) T cell therapy, and explores how each strategy has been applied to the treatment of breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)353-365
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of mammary gland biology and neoplasia
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1999


  • Adoptive T cell therapy
  • Breast cancer
  • Cytokines
  • Immunotherapy
  • T cell
  • Vaccines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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