A double agent in cancer: Deciphering macrophage roles in human tumors

Article metrics

Macrophages engulf microbes and cellular debris to protect us from disease and help repair wounded tissues. In cancer, they also infiltrate the tumor, but studies in humans and mice now uncover more sinister roles for these immune cells in cancer. In 'Bedside to Bench', Christiana Ruhrberg and Michele De Palma scrutinize a clinical study where the presence of macrophages correlates with a high risk of disease progression in people with Hodgkin's lymphoma, indicating a clinical value of macrophages as biomarkers of survival. The authors also emphasize how characterizing of the mechanisms by which subpopulations of macrophages promote tumor cell motility and angiogenesis might help in the development of antiangiogenic therapies to stop tumor progression. In 'Bench to Bedside', Joseph Qualls and Peter Murray examine a study that shows how stopping migration of macrophages into the tumor can impair tumor regrowth after radiation treatment.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1: The quest for human TAM markers with prognostic and therapeutic value.

Katie Vicari


  1. 1

    Qian, B.Z. & Pollard, J.W. Cell 141, 39–51 (2010).

  2. 2

    Mantovani, A. & Sica, A. Curr. Opin. Immunol. 22, 231–237 (2010).

  3. 3

    Steidl, C. et al. N. Engl. J. Med. 362, 875–885 (2010).

  4. 4

    Balkwill, F. & Mantovani, A. Lancet 357, 539–545 (2001).

  5. 5

    Vacca, A. et al. Br. J. Cancer 79, 965–970 (1999).

  6. 6

    Birgersdotter, A. et al. Br. J. Cancer 101, 1393–1401 (2009).

  7. 7

    Nakayama, Y. et al. Anticancer Res. 22, 4291–4296 (2002).

  8. 8

    Kim, D.W. et al. Br. J. Cancer 98, 1118–1124 (2008).

  9. 9

    Coffelt, S.B. et al. Am. J. Pathol. 176, 1564–1576 (2010).

  10. 10

    Qian, B. et al. PLoS ONE 4, e6562 (2009).

  11. 11

    De Palma, M. et al. Cancer Cell 8, 211–226 (2005).

  12. 12

    Pucci, F. et al. Blood 114, 901–914 (2009).

  13. 13

    Fantin, A. et al. Blood published online, doi: 10.1182/blood-2009-12-257832 (19 April 2010).

  14. 14

    Ojalvo, L.S., King, W., Cox, D. & Pollard, J.W. Am. J. Pathol. 174, 1048–1064 (2009).

  15. 15

    Kioi, M. et al. J. Clin. Invest. 120, 694–705 (2010).

  16. 16

    Venneri, M.A. et al. Blood 109, 5276–5285 (2007).

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to Christiana Ruhrberg or Michele De Palma.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Further reading