J Cancer 2016; 7(10):1281-1294. doi:10.7150/jca.13141 This issue
National Engineering Laboratory for Cereal Fermentation Technology, School of Biotechnology, Jiangnan University, Wuxi, Jiangsu, P.R.China.
Breast cancer is a complex disease encompassing multiple tumor entities, each characterized by distinct morphology, behavior and clinical implications. Besides estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2, novel biomarkers have shown their prognostic and predictive values, complicating our understanding towards to the heterogeneity of such cancers. Ten cancer hallmarks have been proposed by Weinberg to characterize cancer and its carcinogenesis. By reviewing biomarkers and breast cancer molecular subtypes, we propose that the divergent outcome observed from patients stratified by hormone status are driven by different cancer hallmarks. 'Sustaining proliferative signaling' further differentiates cancers with positive hormone receptors. 'Activating invasion and metastasis' and 'evading immune destruction' drive the differentiation of triple negative breast cancers. 'Resisting cell death', 'genome instability and mutation' and 'deregulating cellular energetics' refine breast cancer classification with their predictive values. 'Evading growth suppressors', 'enabling replicative immortality', 'inducing angiogenesis' and 'tumor-promoting inflammation' have not been involved in breast cancer classification which need more focus in the future biomarker-related research. This review novels in its global view on breast cancer heterogeneity, which clarifies many confusions in this field and contributes to precision medicine.
Keywords: cancer hallmarks, biomarker, breast cancer, subtype.