Neutrophils in triple-negative breast cancer: an underestimated player with increasingly recognized importance

Chanjuan Zheng, Xi Xu, Muyao Wu, Lian Xue, Jianyu Zhu, Hongzhuo Xia, Siyu Ding, Shujun Fu, Xinyu Wang, Yian Wang, Guangchun He, Xia Liu, Xiyun Deng

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is the most lethal subtype of breast cancer, with limited therapeutic options readily available. Immunotherapy such as immune checkpoint inhibition has been investigated in TNBC but still encounters low overall response. Neutrophils, the most abundant leukocytes in the body, are increasingly recognized as an active cancer-modulating entity. In the bloodstream, neutrophils escort circulating tumor cells to promote their survival and stimulate their proliferation and metastasis. In the tumor microenvironment, neutrophils modulate the immune milieu through polarization between the anti-tumor and the pro-tumor phenotypes. Through a comprehensive review of recently published literature, it is evident that neutrophils are an important player in TNBC immunobiology and can be used as an important prognostic marker of TNBC. Particularly, in their pro-tumor form, neutrophils facilitate TNBC metastasis through formation of neutrophil extracellular traps and the pre-metastatic niche. These findings will help advance the potential utilization of neutrophils as a therapeutic target in TNBC.

Original languageEnglish
Article number88
JournalBreast Cancer Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s).


  • Immunotherapy
  • Metastasis
  • Neutrophil
  • Triple-negative breast cancer
  • Tumor microenvironment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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