Cancer Microenvironment

, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 125–158 | Cite as

The Multifaceted Roles Neutrophils Play in the Tumor Microenvironment

  • Ronit Vogt Sionov
  • Zvi G. Fridlender
  • Zvi GranotEmail author
Original Article


Neutrophils are myeloid cells that constitute 50–70 % of all white blood cells in the human circulation. Traditionally, neutrophils are viewed as the first line of defense against infections and as a major component of the inflammatory process. In addition, accumulating evidence suggest that neutrophils may also play a key role in multiple aspects of cancer biology. The possible involvement of neutrophils in cancer prevention and promotion was already suggested more than half a century ago, however, despite being the major component of the immune system, their contribution has often been overshadowed by other immune components such as lymphocytes and macrophages. Neutrophils seem to have conflicting functions in cancer and can be classified into anti-tumor (N1) and pro-tumor (N2) sub-populations. The aim of this review is to discuss the varying nature of neutrophil function in the cancer microenvironment with a specific emphasis on the mechanisms that regulate neutrophil mobilization, recruitment and activation.


Neutrophil function Tumor Microenvironment Pre-metastatic niche Chemokines 



We thank Dr. Seth Salpeter for critical reading of this review. Research in the authors’ laboratory is supported by the I-CORE Program of The Israel Science Foundation (Grant No. 41/11), The Abisch-Frenkel Foundation and The Rosetrees Trust (R.V.S and Z.G).

Conflict of interest

None declared.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ronit Vogt Sionov
    • 1
  • Zvi G. Fridlender
    • 2
  • Zvi Granot
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Developmental Biology and Cancer Research, Institute for Medical Research Israel CanadaHebrew University Medical SchoolJerusalemIsrael
  2. 2.Institute of Pulmonary MedicineHadassah-Hebrew University Medical CenterJerusalemIsrael

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