Tumor-associated macrophages as an emerging target against tumors: Creating a new path from bench to bedside

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2015 Apr;1855(2):123-30. doi: 10.1016/j.bbcan.2015.01.002. Epub 2015 Jan 14.


Tumor-associated macrophages are a critical component of tumor microenvironments, which affect tumor growth, tumor angiogenesis, immune suppression, metastasis and chemoresistance. There is emerging evidence that many anticancer modalities currently used in the clinic have unique and distinct properties that modulate the recruitment, polarization and tumorigenic activities of macrophages in the tumor microenvironments. Educated tumor-associated macrophages significantly impact the clinical efficacies of and resistance to these anticancer modalities. Moreover, the development of drugs targeting tumor-associated macrophages, especially c-Fms kinase inhibitors and humanized antibodies targeting colony-stimulating factor-1 receptor, are in early clinical stages and show promising benefit for cancer patients. These experimental and clinical findings prompted us to further evaluate the potential targets that exhibit tumorigenic and immunosuppressive potential in a manner specific for tumor associated macrophages.

Keywords: Anti-cancer therapy; CSF-1 receptor inhibitor; Tumor microenvironments; Tumor-associated macrophages.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / immunology
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / therapeutic use
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm / genetics
  • Humans
  • Macrophages / drug effects*
  • Macrophages / pathology
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy*
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / drug therapy
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / genetics
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / pathology
  • Receptor, Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptor, Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor / immunology
  • Receptor, Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor / therapeutic use
  • Tumor Microenvironment / genetics*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Receptor, Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor