The role of microglia and macrophages in glioma maintenance and progression

Nat Neurosci. 2016 Jan;19(1):20-7. doi: 10.1038/nn.4185.


There is a growing recognition that gliomas are complex tumors composed of neoplastic and non-neoplastic cells, which each individually contribute to cancer formation, progression and response to treatment. The majority of the non-neoplastic cells are tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs), either of peripheral origin or representing brain-intrinsic microglia, that create a supportive stroma for neoplastic cell expansion and invasion. TAMs are recruited to the glioma environment, have immune functions, and can release a wide array of growth factors and cytokines in response to those factors produced by cancer cells. In this manner, TAMs facilitate tumor proliferation, survival and migration. Through such iterative interactions, a unique tumor ecosystem is established, which offers new opportunities for therapeutic targeting.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Central Nervous System Neoplasms* / immunology
  • Central Nervous System Neoplasms* / metabolism
  • Central Nervous System Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Disease Progression*
  • Glioma* / immunology
  • Glioma* / metabolism
  • Glioma* / pathology
  • Humans
  • Macrophages* / immunology
  • Macrophages* / metabolism
  • Macrophages* / pathology
  • Microglia* / immunology
  • Microglia* / metabolism
  • Microglia* / pathology