Epigenetic regulation of immunotherapy response in triple-negative breast cancer

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Abstract

Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is defined by the absence of estrogen receptor and progesterone receptor and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) overexpression. This malignancy, representing 15–20% of breast cancers, is a clinical challenge due to the lack of targeted treatments, higher intrinsic aggressiveness, and worse outcomes than other breast cancer subtypes. Immune checkpoint inhibitors have shown promising efficacy for early-stage and advanced TNBC, but this seems limited to a subgroup of patients. Understanding the underlying mechanisms that determine immunotherapy efficiency is essential to identifying which TNBC patients will respond to immunotherapy-based treatments and help to develop new therapeutic strategies. Emerging evidence supports that epigenetic alterations, including aberrant chromatin architecture conformation and the modulation of gene regulatory elements, are critical mechanisms for immune escape. These alterations are particularly interesting since they can be reverted through the inhibition of epigenetic regulators. For that reason, several recent studies suggest that the combination of epigenetic drugs and immunotherapeutic agents can boost anticancer immune responses. In this review, we focused on the contribution of epigenetics to the crosstalk between immune and cancer cells, its relevance on immunotherapy response in TNBC, and the potential benefits of combined treatments.

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Llinàs-Arias, P., Íñiguez-Muñoz, S., McCann, K., Voorwerk, L., Orozco, J. I. J., Ensenyat-Mendez, M., … Marzese, D. M. (2021). Epigenetic regulation of immunotherapy response in triple-negative breast cancer. Cancers, 13(16). https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13164139

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