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J Leukoc Biol. 2009 Nov;86(5):1065-73. doi: 10.1189/jlb.0609385. Epub 2009 Sep 9.

Tumor-associated macrophages (TAM) as major players of the cancer-related inflammation.

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Department of Immunology and Inflammation, IRCCS Istituto Clinico Humanitas, Rozzano, Milan, Italy.


The microenvironment of solid tumors is characterized by a reactive stroma with an abundance of inflammatory mediators and leukocytes, dysregulated vessels and proteolytic enzymes. TAM, major players in the connection between inflammation and cancer, summarize a number of functions (e.g., promotion of tumor cell proliferation and angiogenesis, incessant matrix turnover, repression of adaptive immunity), which ultimately have an important impact on disease progression. Thus, together with other myeloid-related cells present at the tumor site (Tie2 macrophages and MDSCs), TAM represent an attractive target of novel biological therapies of tumors.

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