Tumor-associated macrophages in cancer: recent advancements in cancer nanoimmunotherapies

Nisha Kumari, Seung Hong Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Cancer immunotherapy has emerged as a novel cancer treatment, although recent immunotherapy trials have produced suboptimal outcomes, with durable responses seen only in a small number of patients. The tumor microenvironment (TME) has been shown to be responsible for tumor immune escape and therapy failure. The vital component of the TME is tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs), which are usually associated with poor prognosis and drug resistance, including immunotherapies, and have emerged as promising targets for cancer immunotherapy. Recently, nanoparticles, because of their unique physicochemical characteristics, have emerged as crucial translational moieties in tackling tumor-promoting TAMs that amplify immune responses and sensitize tumors to immunotherapies in a safe and effective manner. In this review, we mainly described the current potential nanomaterial-based therapeutic strategies that target TAMs, including restricting TAMs survival, inhibiting TAMs recruitment to tumors and functionally repolarizing tumor-supportive TAMs to antitumor type. The current understanding of the origin and polarization of TAMs, their crucial role in cancer progression and prognostic significance was also discussed in this review. We also highlighted the recent evolution of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-macrophage cell therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number68
JournalJournal of Experimental and Clinical Cancer Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Carcinogenesis
  • Macrophage repolarization
  • Nanoimmunotherapies
  • Nanomaterials
  • Tumor microenvironment
  • Tumor-associated macrophages


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