Immune plasticity in pregnancy-associated breast cancer tumorigenesis.

European journal of cancer prevention : the official journal of the European Cancer Prevention Organisation (ECP)(2023)

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Pregnancy-associated breast cancer (PrBC) is a rare tumor that requires complex management. The coexistence of cancer and pregnancy involves several proliferative, invasive, and immune tolerance mechanisms that are shared between the two conditions. In normal pregnancy, successful fetal development is achieved through suppression of the maternal immune response toward the fetus. Similar immunosuppressive patterns during the malignant transformation supporting tumor growth, progression, and metastasis are also exhibited by tumors. An improved understanding of the immunosuppressive mechanisms and pathways underlying the immunological synergy in PrBC could lead to the identification of novel biomarkers that potentially improve patients' clinical management. In this review article, we outline some of the paramount features of immune plasticity during pregnancy, discussing the similarities shared between normal pregnancy and breast cancer in terms of immune suppression mechanisms. Emphasis is also placed on how the current knowledge of the immune milieu of these conditions may be translated into consequent therapeutic opportunities.
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