Introduction: Cancer associated fibroblasts (CAFs) are the largest population of stromal cells in breast tumors. Emerging evidence has suggested that CAFs are important players not only in fostering tumor growth and spread but also in altering the tumor response to therapeutic agents. On the basis of these observations, huge efforts have been made to exploit CAFs as potential targets for breast cancer therapy. Areas covered: The current understanding of the hallmarks and biology of CAFs, their multilayered interplay with various cell populations of breast tumor microenvironment toward cancer initiation, progression, metastasis and resistance to anticancer therapies are discussed. In addition, a comprehensive overview of the CAFs-based molecular druggable targets in breast tumors is provided. The most relevant literature, in particular the studies retrieved in Medline in the last 10 years, served for this purpose. Expert opinion: The interest on CAFs as a target to fight breast cancer has becoming a hot topic for drug discovery. Indeed, several CAFs-targeted approaches are emerging as appealing therapeutic strategies in breast cancer. At pre-clinical level, this research field is speedily advancing toward the assessment of successful tactics targeting CAFs in breast cancer. Therefore, anti-CAFs therapies may display an intriguing potential to be exploited in clinical studies.
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