Tumor-associated macrophages in multiple myeloma: Advances in biology and therapy

Jennifer Sun, Chaelee Park, Nicole Guenthner, Shannon Gurley, Luna Zhang, Berit Lubben, Ola Adebayo, Hannah Bash, Yixuan Chen, Mina Maksimos, Barbara Muz, Abdel Kareem Azab

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Multiple myeloma (MM) is a cancer of plasma cells in the bone marrow (BM) and represents the second most common hematological malignancy in the world. The MM tumor microenvironment (TME) within the BM niche consists of a wide range of elements which play important roles in supporting MM disease progression, survival, proliferation, angiogenesis, as well as drug resistance. Together, the TME fosters an immunosuppressive environment in which immune recognition and response are repressed. Macrophages are a central player in the immune system with diverse functions, and it has been long established that macrophages play a critical role in both inducing direct and indirect immune responses in cancer. Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) are a major population of cells in the tumor site. Rather than contributing to the immune response against tumor cells, TAMs in many cancers are found to exhibit protumor properties including supporting chemoresistance, tumor proliferation and survival, angiogenesis, immunosuppression, and metastasis. Targeting TAM represents a novel strategy for cancer immunotherapy, which has potential to indirectly stimulate cytotoxic T cell activation and recruitment, and synergize with checkpoint inhibitors and chemotherapies. In this review, we will provide an updated and comprehensive overview into the current knowledge on the roles of TAMs in MM, as well as the therapeutic targets that are being explored as macrophage-targeted immunotherapy, which may hold key to future therapeutics against MM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere003975
JournalJournal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 15 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • immunotherapy
  • macrophages
  • tumor microenvironment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Oncology
  • Pharmacology
  • Cancer Research


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