Research Papers:

Mifamurtide and TAM-like macrophages: effect on proliferation, migration and differentiation of osteosarcoma cells

Francesca Punzo, Giulia Bellini, Chiara Tortora, Daniela Di Pinto, Maura Argenziano, Elvira Pota, Alessandra Di Paola, Martina Di Martino and Francesca Rossi _

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Oncotarget. 2020; 11:687-698. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.27479

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Francesca Punzo1,2,*, Giulia Bellini2,*, Chiara Tortora1, Daniela Di Pinto1, Maura Argenziano2, Elvira Pota1, Alessandra Di Paola2, Martina Di Martino1 and Francesca Rossi1

1 Department of Woman, Child and General and Specialist Surgery, University of Campania “Luigi Vanvitelli”, Napoli, NA 80138, Italy

2 Department of Experimental Medicine, University of Campania “Luigi Vanvitelli”, Napoli, NA 80138, Italy

* These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Francesca Rossi,email: [email protected]

Keywords: macrophage polarization; tumor micro-environment; osteosarcoma; Mifamurtide; MG63

Received: November 22, 2019     Accepted: January 21, 2020     Published: February 18, 2020


Tumor-associated macrophages and their alternative activation states together with cytokines and growth factors trapped in tumor microenvironment contribute to the progression of OS. In contrast to other tumor types, M2 polarized macrophages, reduce metastasis and improve survival in osteosarcoma patients. Mifamurtide is an immunomodulatory drug given together with standard adjuvant chemotherapy in high-grade osteosarcoma to improve outcome. Macrophages obtained from peripheral blood mononucleated cells of healthy donors and MG63 cells were cultured alone and together, and treated with Mifamurtide. We analyzed the effects of Mifamurtide on macrophage polarization and on MG63 proliferation, migration and differentiation, evaluating the expression of M1/M2 and osteoblast markers and molecules involved in metastasis and proliferation pathways.

Our data suggest that Mifamurtide, switching macrophage polarization towards a TAM-like intermediate M1/M2 phenotype, may modulate the delicate balance between pro-inflammatory and immunomodulatory macrophage functions. Moreover, Mifamurtide may inhibit the cellular proliferation and induce the tumor cell differentiation, probably through the down regulation of pSTAT3, pAKT and IL-17R.

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