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Tumor-associated Macrophages (TAM) and Inflammation in Colorectal Cancer

  • Original Paper
  • Published:
Cancer Microenvironment

Abstract

Experimental and epidemiological studies indicate a strong link between chronic inflammation and tumor progression. Human colorectal cancer (CRC), a major cause of cancer-related death in Western countries, represents a paradigm for this link. Key features of cancer-related inflammation in CRC are the activation of transcription factors (e.g. NF-κB, STAT3), the expression of inflammatory cytokines and chemokines (e.g. TNFα, IL-6, CCL2, CXCL8) as well as a prominent leukocyte infiltrate. While considerable evidence indicates that the presence of lymphocytes of adaptive immunity may positively influence patient survival and clinical outcome in CRC, the role of tumor-associated macrophages (TAM) and of other lymphoid populations (e.g. Th17, Treg) is still unclear. In this review we will summarize the different and controversial effects that TAM play in CRC-related inflammation and progression of disease. The characterization of the most relevant inflammatory pathways in CRC is instrumental for the identification of new target molecules that could lead to improved diagnosis and treatment.

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Acknowledgments

This work was supported by Associazione Italiana Ricerca Cancro (AIRC) Italy to PA and AM; grants from the European Community FP6 Project ATTACK-018914; Ministry of Health and Istituto Superiore Sanità Italy (Project oncology 2006 and Alleanza Contro il Cancro).

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Erreni, M., Mantovani, A. & Allavena, P. Tumor-associated Macrophages (TAM) and Inflammation in Colorectal Cancer. Cancer Microenvironment 4, 141–154 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12307-010-0052-5

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