Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) are important tumor-promoting cells in the breast tumor microenvironment. Preclinically TAMs stimulate breast tumor progression, including tumor cell growth, invasion and metastasis. TAMs also induce resistance to multiple types of treatment in breast cancer models. The underlying mechanisms include: induction and maintenance of tumor-promoting phenotype in TAMs, inhibition of CD8+ T cell function, degradation of extracellular matrix, stimulation of angiogenesis and inhibition of phagocytosis. Several studies reported that high TAM infiltration of breast tumors is correlated with a worse patient prognosis. Based on these findings, macrophage-targeted treatment strategies have been developed and are currently being evaluated in clinical breast cancer trials. These strategies include: inhibition of macrophage recruitment, repolarization of TAMs to an antitumor phenotype, and enhancement of macrophage-mediated tumor cell killing or phagocytosis. This review summarizes the functional aspects of TAMs and the rationale and current evidence for TAMs as a therapeutic target in breast cancer.
Qiu, S. Q., Waaijer, S. J. H., Zwager, M. C., de Vries, E. G. E., van der Vegt, B., & Schröder, C. P. (2018, November 1). Tumor-associated macrophages in breast cancer: Innocent bystander or important player? Cancer Treatment Reviews. W.B. Saunders Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctrv.2018.08.010