Breast cancer, the most common type of cancer affecting women, encompasses a collection of histologic (mainly ductal and lobular) and molecular subtypes exhibiting diverse clinical presentation, disease trajectories, treatment options, and outcomes. Immunotherapy has revolutionized treatment for some solid tumors but has shown limited promise for breast cancers. In this review, we summarize recent advances in our understanding of the complex interactions between tumor and immune cells in subtypes of breast cancer at the cellular and microenvironmental levels. We aim to provide a perspective on opportunities for future immunotherapy agents tailored to specific features of each subtype of breast cancer.
Although there are currently over 200 ongoing clinical trials testing immunotherapeutics, such as immune-checkpoint blockade agents, these are largely restricted to the triple-negative and HER2+ subtypes and primarily focus on T cells. With the rapid expansion of new in vitro, in vivo, and clinical data, it is critical to identify and highlight the challenges and opportunities unique for each breast cancer subtype to drive the next generation of treatments that harness the immune system.