Tumour-associated macrophages are a distinct M2 polarised population promoting tumour progression: potential targets of anti-cancer therapy

Eur J Cancer. 2006 Apr;42(6):717-27. doi: 10.1016/j.ejca.2006.01.003. Epub 2006 Mar 7.


Tumour-associated macrophages (TAM) represent the major inflammatory component of the stroma of many tumours, and can affect different aspects of the neoplastic tissue. Many observations indicate that TAM express several M2-associated pro-tumoural functions, including promotion of angiogenesis, matrix remodelling and suppression of adaptive immunity. The pro-tumoural role of TAM in cancer is further supported by clinical studies that found a correlation between the high macrophage content of tumours and poor patient prognosis. Evidence is presented here supporting the view that TAM represent a unique and distinct M2-skewed myeloid population and are a potential target for anti-cancer therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / immunology
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Cellular
  • Immunotherapy
  • Macrophages / drug effects
  • Macrophages / physiology*
  • Monocytes / physiology
  • Neoplasms / blood supply
  • Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Neoplasms / therapy