It is increasingly evident that not only breast cancer cells, but also the tissue embedding these cells: the tumor microenvironment, plays an important role in tumor progression, metastasis formation and treatment sensitivity. This review focuses on the current knowledge of processes by which the microenvironment affects breast cancer, including formation of the metastatic niche, metabolic stimulation, stimulation of tumor cell migration, immune modulation, angiogenesis and matrix remodeling. The number of drugs targeting key factors in these processes is expanding, and the available clinical data is increasing. Therefore current strategies for intervention and prediction of treatment response are outlined. At present, targeting the formation of the metastatic niche and metabolic stimulation by the breast cancer microenvironment, are already showing clinical efficacy. Intervening in the stimulation of tumor cell migration and immune modulation by the microenvironment upcoming fields of great research interest. In contrast, targeting microenvironmental angiogenesis or matrix remodeling appears to be of limited clinical relevance in breast cancer treatment so far. Further research is warranted to optimize intervention strategies and develop predictive tests for the relevance of targeting involved factors within the microenvironment in order to optimally personalize breast cancer treatment. (C) 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.