Tumor-associated Macrophages: Effectors of Angiogenesis and Tumor Progression

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2009 Aug;1796(1):11-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bbcan.2009.02.004. Epub 2009 Mar 6.


Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) are a prominent inflammatory cell population in many tumor types residing in both perivascular and avascular, hypoxic regions of these tissues. Analysis of TAMs in human tumor biopsies has shown that they express a variety of tumor-promoting factors and evidence from transgenic murine tumor models has provided unequivocal evidence for the importance of these cells in driving angiogenesis, lymphangiogenesis, immunosuppression, and metastasis. This review will summarize the mechanisms by which monocytes are recruited into tumors, their myriad, tumor-promoting functions within tumors, and the influence of the tumor microenvironment in driving these activities. We also discuss recent attempts to both target/destroy TAMs and exploit them as delivery vehicles for anti-cancer gene therapy.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Immunosuppression
  • Lymphangiogenesis
  • Macrophages / physiology*
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic
  • Tumor Escape