Modulation of Mononuclear Phagocytes by Cancer Chemotherapeutic Agents

  • Alberto Mantovani
  • Aldo Tagliabue


Cytotoxic agents used in the medical treatment of neoplasia have profound effects on host immunity. Inhibition of host defense mechanisms is generally considered an important determinant of infections occurring concomitantly with the use of cytotoxic chemotherapy. Moreover, modulation of host defense mechanisms could also be relevant to the antitumor efficacy of drugs. On the one hand, it has been suggested that interference with immunity is an intrinsic limiting factor in the efficacy of anticancer agents: according to this view, chemotherapeutic drugs would be “self-defeating” (Schwartz, 1968). On the other hand, evidence has accumulated that several cancer chemotherapeutic agents (e.g., cyclophosphamide and adriamycin) do not merely suppress immunity, but can have more subtle and selective effects on host defense mechanisms (Spreafico and Anaclerio, 1977; Spreafico and Mantovani, 1981). Therefore, the relationship between antitumor efficacy and modulation of host resistance might be more complicated than expected on the somewhat simplistic assumption that chemotherapeutic agents act as pure depressants of immunity and that no substantial differences exist among antitumor drugs in their interaction with host defense mechanisms.


Migration Inhibitory Factor Peritoneal Macrophage Mononuclear Phagocyte Antitumor Efficacy Cytostatic Activity 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alberto Mantovani
    • 1
  • Aldo Tagliabue
    • 1
  1. 1.Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche “Mario Negri,“MilanItaly

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