The therapeutic potential of TREM2 in cancer

Front Oncol. 2022 Sep 2;12:984193. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2022.984193. eCollection 2022.


Cancer continues to be a substantial health concern and a leading cause of death in the United States and around the world. Therefore, it is important to continue to explore the potential of novel therapeutic targets and combinatorial therapies. Triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2 (TREM2) is a transmembrane receptor of the immunoglobulin superfamily that associates with DNAX activation protein (DAP) 12 and DAP10 to propagate signals within the cell. TREM2 has primarily been recognized for its expression on cells in the monocyte-macrophage lineage, with the majority of work focusing on microglial function in Alzheimer's Disease. However, expansion of TREM2 research into the field of cancer has revealed that epithelial tumor cells as well as intratumoral macrophages and myeloid regulatory cells also express TREM2. In this review, we discuss evidence that TREM2 contributes to tumor suppressing or oncogenic activity when expressed by epithelial tumor cells. In addition, we discuss the immunosuppressive role of TREM2-expressing intratumoral macrophages, and the therapeutic potential of targeting TREM2 in combination with immune checkpoint therapy. Overall, the literature reveals TREM2 could be considered a novel therapeutic target for certain types of cancer.

Keywords: TREM2 (triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2); immunosuppression; immunotherapy; tumor associated macrophage (TAM); tumor infiltrating lymphocyte (TIL).

Publication types

  • Review