Pro-tumoral inflammatory myeloid cells as emerging therapeutic targets

Gabor J. Szebeni, Csaba Vizler, Lajos I. Nagy, Klara Kitajka, L. Puskás

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

14 Citations (Scopus)


Since the observation of Virchow, it has long been known that the tumor microenvironment constitutes the soil for the infiltration of inflammatory cells and for the release of inflammatory mediators. Under certain circumstances, inflammation remains unresolved and promotes cancer development. Here, we review some of these indisputable experimental and clinical evidences of cancer related smouldering inflammation. The most common myeloid infiltrate in solid tumors is composed of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) and tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs). These cells promote tumor growth by several mechanisms, including their inherent immunosuppressive activity, promotion of neoangiogenesis, mediation of epithelial-mesenchymal transition and alteration of cellular metabolism. The pro-tumoral functions of TAMs and MDSCs are further enhanced by their cross-talk offering a myriad of potential anti-cancer therapeutic targets. We highlight these main pro-tumoral mechanisms of myeloid cells and give a general overview of their phenotypical and functional diversity, offering examples of possible therapeutic targets. Pharmacological targeting of inflammatory cells and molecular mediators may result in therapies improving patient condition and prognosis. Here, we review experimental and clinical findings on cancer-related inflammation with a major focus on creating an inventory of current small molecule-based therapeutic interventions targeting cancer-related inflammatory cells: TAMs and MDSCs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1958
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 23 2016



  • Inflammatory tumor microenvironment
  • Myeloid-derived suppressor cells
  • Tumor-associated macrophages

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Spectroscopy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry

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