Histological, molecular and functional subtypes of breast cancers

Gautam K. Malhotra, Xiangshan Zhao, Hamid Band, Vimla Band

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

272 Scopus citations


Increased understanding of the molecular heterogeneity that is intrinsic to the various subtypes of breast cancer will likely shape the future of breast cancer diagnosis, prognosis and treatment. Advances in the field over the last several decades have been remarkable and have clearly translated into better patient care as evidenced by the earlier detection, better prognosis and new targeted therapies. There have been two recent advances in the breast cancer research field that have lead to paradigm shifts: first, the identification of intrinsic breast tumor subtypes, which has changed the way we think about breast cancer and second, the recent characterization of cancer stem cells (CSCs), which are suspected to be responsible for tumor initiation, recurrence and resistance to therapy. These findings have opened new exciting avenues to think about breast cancer therapeutic strategies. While these advances constitute major paradigm shifts within the research realm, the clinical arena has yet to adopt and apply our understanding of the molecular basis of the disease to early diagnosis, prognosis and therapy of breast cancers. Here, we will review the current clinical approach to classification of breast cancers, newer molecular-based classification schemes and potential future of biomarkers representing a functional classification of breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)955-960
Number of pages6
JournalCancer Biology and Therapy
Issue number10
StatePublished - Nov 15 2010


  • Breast cancer
  • Cancer subtypes
  • Stem cells
  • Tumor heterogeneity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Oncology
  • Pharmacology
  • Cancer Research


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