Breast cancer and immunosenescence

Mauro Provinciali, Alessia Donnini, Arianna Smorlesi, Cristina Gatti

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Breast cancer is a disease primarily of older women and, since the elderly population is rapidly expanding, so too will the number of breast cancer patients. The increased incidence of breast cancer in elderly people and its lower aggressiveness have been both related to the age-associated changes occurring in the immune system, the so-called immunosenescence. This phenomenon is best characterized by a remodelling of the immune system, which appears early on and progresses throughout a person's life. The immunosenescence may not only impact on the incidence of breast cancer but also on the effectiveness of preventive and therapeutic approaches based on immune system activation. Immune adjuvants as well as anticancer substances which primarily exert a direct action on tumor cells may have an additive effect on immune-based anticancer approaches, thus playing an important role for the enhancement of immune responses in old ages. This review aims to perform a brief analysis of the age-related alterations of the cell populations involved in antitumour immunity and to analyze the main immunological targets of breast cancer, the effectiveness of immune-based prevention and therapy for breast cancer, and the adjuvant or additive approaches to activate an anticancer immune response in aging.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook on Immunosenescence: Basic Understanding and Clinical Applications
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Number of pages25
ISBN (Print)9781402090639, 9781402090622
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Apoptosis
  • Breast cancer
  • Immunoprevention
  • Immunosenescence
  • Immunotherapy
  • Senescent-like growth arrest
  • Tumor antigens

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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