Targeting macrophage anti-tumor activity to suppress melanoma progression

Huafeng Wang _, Lijuan Zhang, Luhong Yang, Chengfang Liu, Qi Zhang and Linjing Zhang

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:18486-18496. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.14474

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Huafeng Wang1,*, Lijuan Zhang1,2,*, Luhong Yang1, Chengfang Liu3, Qi Zhang4 and Linjing Zhang1

1 Modern College of Arts and Science, or School of Life Science, Shanxi Normal University, Linfen, China

2 Research Center of Basic Medical Sciences, Tianjin Medical University, Tianjin, China

3 Department of Human Anatomy, Shanxi Medical University, Shanxi Sheng, China

4 Nankai Hospital, Tianjin, China

* These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Huafeng Wang, email:

Lijuan Zhang, email:

Linjing Zhang, email:

Keywords: melanoma; macrophage; GM-CSF; immunoadjuvant agent

Received: June 30, 2016 Accepted: December 27, 2016 Published: January 03, 2017


By phagocytosing cancer cells and their cellular debris, macrophages play a critical role in nonspecific defense (innate immunity) and, as antigen presenters, they help initiate specific defense mechanisms (adaptive immunity). Malignant melanoma is a lethal disease due to its aggressive capacity for metastasis and resistance to therapy. For decades, considerable effort has gone into development of an effective immunotherapy for treatment of metastatic melanoma. In this review, we focus on the anti-tumor activities of macrophages in melanoma and their potential as therapeutic targets in melanoma. Although macrophages can be re-educated through intercellular signaling to promote tumor survival owing to their plasticity, we expect that targeting the anti-tumor activity of macrophages remains a promising strategy for melanoma inhibition. The combination of tumoricidal macrophage activation and other treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy, may provide an effective and comprehensive anti-melanoma strategy.

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