The mammary gland is a complex organ necessary for providing nutrition and immunity to the newborn. Understanding the normal physiology and architecture of the mammary gland is essential because it is an anatomic site that is often diseased in humans. Cancer remains one of the dominant diseases detected in breast tissue. Worldwide, breast cancer is responsible for over 400,000 deaths annually. Despite our tremendous efforts, the molecular and cellular pathways to initiation and progression of breast cancer remain poorly understood. What has become increasingly clear is the microenvironment in the normal and malignant breast can have a profound influence on malignancy. While there are data that suggest that one component of the microenvironment, the immune system, protects against breast cancer, other data support a pathological role. In this review the authors take a comprehensive approach in defining this paradoxical, double-edged, role of the immune system.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)