Tumour dormancy and clinical implications in breast cancer

L. Gelao, C. Criscitiello, L. Fumagalli, M. Locatelli, S. Manunta, A. Esposito, I. Minchella, A. Goldhirsch, G. Curigliano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of adjuvant therapy in breast cancer is to reduce the risk of recurrence. Some patients develop metastases many years after apparently successful treatment of their primary cancer. Tumour dormancy may explain the long time between initial diagnosis and treatment of cancer, and occurrence of relapse. The regulation of the switch from clinical dormancy to cancer regrowth in locoregional and distant sites is poorly understood. In this review, we report some data supporting the existence of various factors that may explain cancer dormancy including genetic and epigenetic changes, angiogenic switch, microenvironment, and immunosurveillance. A better definition and understanding of these factors should allow the identification of patients at high risk of relapse and to develop new therapeutic strategies in order to improve prognosis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number320
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 21 2013


  • Angiogenesis
  • Breast cancers
  • Immune surveillance
  • Microenvironment
  • Tumor dormancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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