In the last decades, the constant and relevant advances in genetics and molecular biology profoundly changed our knowledge on etiopathology, origin and progression of breast cancer disease. The different spread of program screenings, environmental and lifestyles changes have variously affected the epidemiology of disease in the different geographic areas. In the meanwhile, many new drugs have been experimented and entered into clinical practice. Thus, all the main aspects of the disease are continuously involved and need a regular updating. This chapter faces up with this difficult task and all the issues are discussed taking into account the most important scientific contributions in the field. The first part of the chapter is devoted to epidemiology, etiopathology and origin of the disease; thereafter it focuses on medical treatment and presents the current common lines of therapy in the different settings with particular reference to the more recent target therapies. As to this, the currently proposed treatments to overcome the occurrence of “de novo” or acquired resistance are also described. The last section discusses further innovative biological approaches and suggests a strategy for a more successful antitumoral immune manipulation.
Keywords: Breast cancer, Cytotoxic therapy, Endocrine therapy, Epidemiology, Etiopathology, Molecular profiling, New agents, Target therapy.