Impact of tumour associated macrophages in pancreatic cancer

Ainhoa Mielgo, Michael C Schmid
BMB Reports 2013, 46 (3): 131-8
During cancer progression, bone marrow derived myeloid cells, including immature myeloid cells and macrophages, progressively accumulate at the primary tumour site where they contribute to the establishment of a tumour promoting microenvironment. A marked infiltration of macrophages into the stromal compartment and the generation of a desmoplastic stromal reaction is a particular characteristic of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) and is thought to play a key role in disease progression and its response to therapy. Tumour associated macrophages (TAMs) foster PDA tumour progression by promoting angiogenesis, metastasis, and by suppressing an anti-tumourigenic immune response. Recent work also suggests that TAMs contribute to resistance to chemotherapy and to the emergence of cancer stem-like cells. Here we will review the current understanding of the biology and the pro-tumourigenic functions of TAMs in cancer and specifically in PDA, and highlight potential therapeutic strategies to target TAMs and to improve current therapies for pancreatic cancer.

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