Tumor-associated macrophages: Therapeutic targets for skin cancer

Taku Fujimura, Yumi Kambayashi, Yasuhiro Fujisawa, Takanori Hidaka, Setsuya Aiba

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

82 Citations (Scopus)


Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) and regulatory T cells (Tregs) are significant components of the microenvironment of solid tumors in the majority of cancers. TAMs sequentially develop from monocytes into functional macrophages. In each differentiation stage, TAMs obtain various immunosuppressive functions to maintain the tumor microenvironment (e.g., expression of immune checkpoint molecules, production of Treg-related chemokines and cytokines, production of arginase I). Although the main population of TAMs is immunosuppressive M2 macrophages, TAMs can be modulated into M1-type macrophages in each differential stage, leading to the suppression of tumor growth. Because the administration of certain drugs or stromal factors can stimulate TAMs to produce specific chemokines, leading to the recruitment of various tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes, TAMs can serve as targets for cancer immunotherapy. In this review, we discuss the differentiation, activation, and immunosuppressive function of TAMs, as well as their benefits in cancer immunotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3
JournalFrontiers in Oncology
Issue numberJAN
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jan 23


  • Angiogenetic factors
  • Chemokines
  • Immunosuppression
  • M2 polarization
  • Regulatory T cells
  • Tumor-associated macrophages


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