Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
International Journal of Breast Cancer
Volume 2018, Article ID 4786819, 7 pages
Review Article

The Evolution of Radiation Therapy in Metastatic Breast Cancer: From Local Therapy to Systemic Agent

1Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA
2Department of Medicine, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to Steven J. Chmura; ude.ogacihcu.cnodar@arumhcs

Received 25 October 2017; Accepted 12 April 2018; Published 16 May 2018

Academic Editor: Virginia F. Borges

Copyright © 2018 Jessica M. S. Jutzy et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Radiation therapy is a mainstay of treatment in early and locally advanced breast cancer but is typically reserved for palliation of symptomatic lesions in patients with metastatic breast cancer. With new advances in the field of tumor biology and immunology, the role of radiation in the metastatic setting is evolving to harness its immune-enhancing properties. Through the release of tumor antigens, tumor DNA, and cytokines into the tumor microenvironment, radiation augments the antitumoral immune response to affect both the targeted lesion and distant sites of metastatic disease. The use of immunotherapeutics to promote antitumoral immunity has resulted in improved treatment responses in patients with metastatic disease and the combination of radiation therapy and immunotherapy has become an area of intense investigation. In this article, we will review the emerging role of radiation in the treatment of metastatic disease and discuss the current state of the science and clinical trials investigating the combination of radiation and immunotherapy.