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In breast cancer (BC), tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) are an important component of the tumor microenvironment and are closely related to poor prognosis. A growing number of studies have focused on the role of TAMs in BC progression and therapeutic strategies targeting TAMs. As an emerging treatment, the application of nanosized drug delivery systems (NDDSs) in the treatment of BC by targeting TAMs has attracted much attention. This review is to summarize the characteristics and treatment strategies targeting TAMs in BC and to clarify the applications of NDDSs targeting TAMs in the treatment of BC by targeting TAMs. The existing results related to characteristics of TAMs in BC, BC treatment strategies by targeting TAMs, and the applications of NDDSs in these strategies are described. Through analyzing these results, the advantages and disadvantages of the treatment strategies using NDDSs are discussed, which could provide advices on designing NDDSs for BC treatment. TAMs are one of the most prominent noncancer cell types in BC. TAMs not only promote angiogenesis, tumor growth and metastasis but also lead to therapeutic resistance and immunosuppression. Mainly four strategies have been used to target TAMs for BC therapy, which include depleting macrophages, blocking recruitment, reprogramming to attain an anti-tumor phenotype, and increasing phagocytosis. Since NDDSs can efficiently deliver drugs to TAMs with low toxicity, they are promising approaches for targeting TAMs in tumor therapy. NDDSs with various structures can deliver immunotherapeutic agents and nucleic acid therapeutics to TAMs. In addition, NDDSs can realize combination therapies. TAMs play a critical role in the progression of BC. An increasing number of strategies have been proposed to regulate TAMs. Compared with free drugs, NDDSs targeting TAMs improve drug concentration, reduce toxicity and realize combination therapies. However, in order to achieve better therapeutic efficacy, there are still some disadvantages that need to be considered in the design of NDDSs. TAMs play an important role in the progression of BC, and targeting TAMs is a promising strategy for BC therapy. In particular, NDDSs targeting TAMs have unique advantages and are potential treatments for BC. © 2023 The Authors. Cancer Medicine published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


Cuiping Zhan, Ying Jin, Xinzhi Xu, Jiangbo Shao, Chunxiang Jin. Antitumor therapy for breast cancer: Focus on tumor-associated macrophages and nanosized drug delivery systems. Cancer medicine. 2023 May;12(10):11049-11072

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PMID: 36794651

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