Tumor-Associated Macrophages and Ovarian Cancer: Implications for Therapy

David Schweer, Annabel McAtee, Khaga Neupane, Christopher Richards, Frederick Ueland, Jill Kolesar

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The tumor microenvironment (TME) has been implicated to play an important role in the progression of ovarian cancer. One of the most important components of the TME is tumor associated macrophages (TAMs). Phenotypically, macrophages are broadly categorized as M1 proinflammatory or M2 anti-inflammatory, based on the cytokines and chemokines that they secrete. The tumor microenvironment is associated with macrophages of an M2 phenotype which suppress the surrounding immune environment, assist tumor cells in evading immune targeting, and support tumor growth and metastasis. Contrarily, M1 macrophages help mount an immune response against tumors, and are associated with a more favorable prognosis in solid tumors. One of the characteristic indicators of a poor prognosis in ovarian cancer is the overrepresentation of M2-type TAMs. As such, therapeutic modalities targeting TME and TAMs are of increasing interest. Pharmacological approaches to eliminate TAMs, include decreasing macrophage survival and recruitment and increasing phagocytosis, have been underwhelming. Clinical strategies targeting these macrophage subtypes via repolarization to an M1 antitumoral state deserve increasing attention, and may serve as a new modality for immunotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2220
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 1 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This research was funded by a NIH Training Grant, T32CA160003, and by the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center (P30 CA177558).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • TAM
  • immunotherapy
  • macrophages
  • ovarian cancer
  • repolarization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Tumor-Associated Macrophages and Ovarian Cancer: Implications for Therapy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this