There is growing evidence that tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) promote tumor growth and dissemination. Many individual reports have focused on the protumor function of molecules linked to the recruitment of macrophages, but little is known about which factor has the strongest impact on recruitment of macrophages in breast cancer. To elucidate this question, we performed RT-PCR using species-specific primers and evaluated tumoral and stromal mRNA expression of macrophage chemoattractants separately in human breast tumor xenografts. The correlation between the tumoral or stromal chemoattractant mRNA expression including monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) (CCL2), MIP-1alpha (CCL3), RANTES (CCL5), colony-stimulating factor 1, tumor necrosis factor alpha, platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)-BB and macrophage infiltration were compared. There was significant positive correlation between stromal MCP-1 expression and macrophage number (r = 0.63), and negative correlation between tumoral RANTES expression and macrophage number (r = -0.75). However, no significant correlation was found for the other tumoral and stromal factors. The interaction between the tumor cells and macrophages was also investigated. Tumor cell-macrophage interactions augmented macrophage-derived MCP-1 mRNA expression and macrophage chemotactic activity in vitro. Treatment of immunodeficient mice bearing human breast cancer cells with a neutralizing antibody to MCP-1 resulted in significant decrease of macrophage infiltration, angiogenetic activity and tumor growth. Furthermore, immunohistochemical analysis of human breast cancer tissue showed stromal MCP-1 had a significant correlation with relapse free survival (p = 0.029), but tumoral MCP-1 did not (p = 0.105). These findings indicate that stromal MCP-1 produced as a result of tumor-stromal interactions may be important for the progression of human breast cancer and macrophages may play an important role in this tumor-stroma interaction.