Molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying brain metastasis of breast cancer

Mari Hosonaga, Hideyuki Saya, Yoshimi Arima

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

73 Citations (Scopus)


Metastasis of cancer cells to the brain occurs frequently in patients with certain subtypes of breast cancer. In particular, patients with HER2-positive or triple-negative breast cancer are at high risk for the development of brain metastases. Despite recent advances in the treatment of primary breast tumors, the prognosis of breast cancer patients with brain metastases remains poor. A better understanding of the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying brain metastasis might be expected to lead to improvements in the overall survival rate for these patients. Recent studies have revealed complex interactions between metastatic cancer cells and their microenvironment in the brain. Such interactions result in the activation of various signaling pathways related to metastasis in both cancer cells and cells of the microenvironment including astrocytes and microglia. In this review, we focus on such interactions and on their role both in the metastatic process and as potential targets for therapeutic intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)711-720
Number of pages10
JournalCancer and Metastasis Reviews
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Sept 1


  • Astrocyte
  • Brain metastasis
  • Breast cancer
  • PI3K-Akt
  • STAT3
  • xCT

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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