, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 145-157,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 08 Apr 2009

Macrophages in Breast Cancer: Do Involution Macrophages Account for the Poor Prognosis of Pregnancy-Associated Breast Cancer?


Macrophage influx is associated with negative outcomes for women with breast cancer and has been demonstrated to be required for metastasis of mammary tumors in mouse models. Pregnancy-associated breast cancer is characterized by particularly poor outcomes, however the reasons remain obscure. Recently, post-pregnancy mammary involution has been characterized as having a wound healing signature. We have proposed the involution-hypothesis, which states that the wound healing microenvironment of the involuting gland is tumor promotional. Macrophage influx is one of the prominent features of the involuting gland, identifying the macrophage a potential instigator of tumor progression and a novel target for breast cancer treatment and prevention.