A Macrophage is a Macrophage is a Macrophage—in Metastasis

“We hope that these results will inform future attempts at anti-macrophage therapy and lead to better outcomes for patients in the not-too-distant future.” 

BUFFALO, NY- August 23, 2023 – A new editorial paper was published in Oncotarget’s Volume 14 on June 6, 2023, entitled, “A macrophage is a macrophage is a macrophage—in metastasis.”

In this new editorial, researcher Thomas T. Tapmeier from Monash University, Hudson Institute of Medical Research and University of Oxford discusses a recent study he co-authored on how lung macrophages evolve during metastatic growth of lung colonies in a mouse model of melanoma.

Macrophages have important roles in the response to infection or injury and can orchestrate the appropriate response after sampling their microenvironment, devouring anything untoward and presenting ingested antigens to T cells to elicit an adaptive immune response. In adult life, they develop from bone marrow-derived precursors and circulating monocytes, which differentiate into macrophages within tissue. Apart from their role in clearing challenges to tissue integrity, macrophages have an essential role in growth-related processes such as angiogenesis and vascular remodelling, neural patterning, and ductal growth of developing glands.

“However, their powers can be usurped by tumors, which cannot grow beyond a certain size or metastasis without the help of macrophages.”

This is crucial, as the primary tumor might be amenable to treatment—so that patients can live with it—but metastasis is yet untreatable and inevitably becomes incompatible with survival. Macrophages perform a range of physiological functions and are able to activate function-specific gene repertoires; however, surface markers for selectively targeting macrophages of one or another function are still elusive, despite recent advances in the field. Therefore, therapy attempts based on countering macrophages try to target the surface receptors that recruit them to sites of infection, inflammation or growth.

“Thus, we now addressed the question of how lung macrophages would evolve during metastatic growth of lung colonies in a mouse model of melanoma, and what the results of CCR inhibition would be during the establishment and growth phases of these colonies [10].”

Read the full editorial: DOI: 

Correspondence to: Thomas T. Tapmeier


Keywords: cancer, metastasis, macrophages, melanoma, CCR

About Oncotarget: Oncotarget (a primarily oncology-focused, peer-reviewed, open access journal) aims to maximize research impact through insightful peer-review; eliminate borders between specialties by linking different fields of oncology, cancer research and biomedical sciences; and foster application of basic and clinical science.

To learn more about Oncotarget, visit and connect with us on social media:

Sign up for free Altmetric alerts about this article:

Click here to subscribe to Oncotarget publication updates.

For media inquiries, please contact:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *