Macrophages associated with tumors as potential targets and therapeutic intermediates

Serguei Vinogradov, Galya Warren, Xin Wei

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

132 Scopus citations


Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) form approximately 50% of tumor mass. TAMs were shown to promote tumor growth by suppressing immunocompetent cells, inducing neovascularization and supporting cancer stem cells. TAMs retain mobility in tumor mass, which can potentially be employed for better intratumoral biodistribution of nanocarriers and effective tumor growth inhibition. Due to the importance of TAMs, they are increasingly becoming principal targets of novel therapeutic approaches. In this review, we compare features of macrophages and TAMs that are essential for TAM-directed therapies, and illustrate the advantages of nanomedicine that are related to the preferential capture of nanocarriers by Mφ in the process of drug delivery. We discuss recent efforts in reprogramming or inhibiting tumor-protecting properties of TAMs, and potential strategies to increase efficacy of conventional chemotherapy by combining with macrophage-associated delivery of nanodrugs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)695-707
Number of pages13
Issue number5
StatePublished - Apr 2014


  • 'Trojan horses'
  • biodistribution of nanoparticles
  • cancer stem cell
  • eradication of cancer cells
  • macrophage
  • nanocarrier
  • phagocytosis
  • reprogramming of macrophages
  • tumor-associated macrophage
  • tumor-supporting function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • General Materials Science


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