Harnessing the antitumor potential of macrophages for cancer immunotherapy

Oncoimmunology. 2013 Dec 1;2(12):e26860. doi: 10.4161/onci.26860. Epub 2013 Nov 4.


Macrophages constitute a dominant fraction of the population of immune cells that infiltrate developing tumors. Recruited by tumor-derived signals, tumor-infiltrating macrophages are key orchestrators of a microenvironment that supports tumor progression. However, the phenotype of macrophages is pliable and, if instructed properly, macrophages can mediate robust antitumor functions through their ability to eliminate malignant cells, inhibit angiogenesis, and deplete fibrosis. While much effort has focused on strategies to block the tumor-supporting activity of macrophages, emerging approaches designed to instruct macrophages with antitumor properties are demonstrating promise and may offer a novel strategy for cancer immunotherapy.

Keywords: angiogenesis, cancer; fibrosis, macrophage, phagocytosis, tumoricidal.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't