Current status of PD-1/PD-L1 blockade immunotherapy in breast cancer

Emi Noguchi, Tadahiko Shien, Hiroji Iwata

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Over the past 10 years, immunotherapy with immune checkpoint inhibitors has revolutionized the management of various cancers. However, immunotherapy in breast cancer has not been successful. Breast cancer has long been recognized as an immunologically 'cold' tumor, although a higher frequency of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes present in certain subtypes and an association between tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes and favorable prognosis have been reported. In March 2019, the combination of atezolizumab and nanoparticle albumin-bound paclitaxel was granted accelerated approval in the United States for the treatment of programmed death-ligand 1-positive advanced or metastatic triple-negative breast cancer. This finally opened the door for immune checkpoint blockade therapy for breast cancer. Several clinical trials have been conducted using different combinations of immune checkpoint inhibitors and chemotherapy or targeted agents in various treatment settings for metastatic breast cancer and early-stage breast cancer. In this review, we summarize recent advances in immune checkpoint blockade therapy and predictive biomarkers in breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-332
Number of pages12
JournalJapanese journal of clinical oncology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2021


  • PD-L1
  • breast cancer
  • immune checkpoint inhibitors
  • immunotherapy
  • tumor mutation burden

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research


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