Reprogramming Tumor-Associated Macrophages by Antibody Targeting Inhibits Cancer Progression and Metastasis

Cell Rep. 2016 May 31;15(9):2000-11. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2016.04.084. Epub 2016 May 19.


Tumors are composed of multiple cell types besides the tumor cells themselves, including innate immune cells such as macrophages. Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) are a heterogeneous population of myeloid cells present in the tumor microenvironment (TME). Here, they contribute to immunosuppression, enabling the establishment and persistence of solid tumors as well as metastatic dissemination. We have found that the pattern recognition scavenger receptor MARCO defines a subtype of suppressive TAMs and is linked to clinical outcome. An anti-MARCO monoclonal antibody was developed, which induces anti-tumor activity in breast and colon carcinoma, as well as in melanoma models through reprogramming TAM populations to a pro-inflammatory phenotype and increasing tumor immunogenicity. This anti-tumor activity is dependent on the inhibitory Fc-receptor, FcγRIIB, and also enhances the efficacy of checkpoint therapy. These results demonstrate that immunotherapies using antibodies designed to modify myeloid cells of the TME represent a promising mode of cancer treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Neoplasm / pharmacology*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / immunology
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Breast Neoplasms / therapy
  • Cell Polarity / drug effects
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cytokines / pharmacology
  • Disease Progression*
  • Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition / drug effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppression Therapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Macrophages / metabolism*
  • Melanoma / immunology
  • Melanoma / pathology
  • Melanoma / therapy
  • Mice
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Receptors, IgG / metabolism
  • Receptors, Immunologic / metabolism
  • Stromal Cells / pathology
  • Tumor Microenvironment / drug effects
  • Tumor Microenvironment / immunology


  • Antibodies, Neoplasm
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Cytokines
  • Fc gamma receptor IIB
  • MARCO protein, human
  • Marco protein, mouse
  • Receptors, IgG
  • Receptors, Immunologic