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Statler College of Engineering and Mining Resources


Chemical and Biomedical Engineering



The formation of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs), known as NETosis, was first observed as a novel immune response to bacterial infection, but has since been found to occur abnormally in a variety of other inflammatory disease states including cancer. Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed malignancy in women. In breast cancer, NETosis has been linked to increased disease progression, metastasis, and complications such as venous thromboembolism. NET-targeted therapies have shown success in preclinical cancer models and may prove valuable clinical targets in slowing or halting tumor progression in breast cancer patients. We will briefly outline the mechanisms by which NETs may form in the tumor microenvironment and circulation, including the crosstalk between neutrophils, tumor cells, endothelial cells, and platelets as well as the role of cancer-associated extracellular vesicles in modulating neutrophil behavior and NET extrusion. The prognostic implications of cancer-associated NETosis will be explored in addition to development of novel therapeutics aimed at targeting NET interactions to improve outcomes in patients with breast cancer.

Source Citation

Snoderly, H.T., Boone, B.A. & Bennewitz, M.F. Neutrophil extracellular traps in breast cancer and beyond: current perspectives on NET stimuli, thrombosis and metastasis, and clinical utility for diagnosis and treatment. Breast Cancer Res 21, 145 (2019).


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