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Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) are the most widely infiltrating immune cells in the tumor microenvironment (TME). Clinically, the number of TAMs is closely correlated with poor outcomes in multiple cancers. The biological actions of TAMs are complex and diverse, including mediating angiogenesis, promoting tumor invasion and metastasis, and building an immunosuppressive microenvironment. Given these pivotal roles of TAMs in tumor development, TAM-based strategies are attractive and used in certain tumor therapies, including inhibition of angiogenic signalling, blockade of the immune checkpoint, and macrophage enhancement phagocytosis. Several attempts to develop TAM-targeted agents have been made to deplete TAMs or reprogram the behaviour of TAMs. Some have shown a favourable curative effect in monotherapy, combination with chemotherapy or immunotherapy in clinical trials. Additionally, a new macrophage-based cell therapeutic technology was recently developed by equipping macrophages with CAR molecules. It is expected to break through barriers to solid tumor treatment. Although TAM-related studies have yielded positive antitumor outcomes, further investigations are needed to better characterize TAMs, which will benefit further establishment of novel strategies for tumor therapy. Here, we concisely summarize the functions of TAMs in the TME and comprehensively introduce the latest TAM-based regimens in cancer treatment. Copyright © 2020 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Nan Cheng, Xuexia Bai, Yuxin Shu, Owais Ahmad, Pingping Shen. Targeting tumor-associated macrophages as an antitumor strategy. Biochemical pharmacology. 2021 Jan;183:114354

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PMID: 33279498

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