Targeting macrophages as a potential therapeutic intervention: Impact on inflammatory diseases and cancer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Macrophages, cells belonging to the innate immune system, present a high plasticity grade, being able to change their phenotype in response to environmental stimuli. They play central roles during development, homeostatic tissue processes, tissue repair, and immunity. Furthermore, it is recognized that macrophages are involved in chronic inflammation and that they play central roles in inflammatory diseases and cancer. Due to their large involvement in the pathogenesis of several types of human diseases, macrophages are considered to be relevant therapeutic targets. Nanotechnology-based systems have attracted a lot of attention in this field, gaining a pivotal role as useful moieties to target macrophages in diseased tissues. Among the different approaches that can target macrophages, the most radical is represented by their depletion, commonly obtained by means of clodronate-containing liposomal formulations and/or depleting antibodies. These strategies have produced encouraging results in experimental mouse models. In this review, we focus on macrophage targeting, based on the results so far obtained in preclinical models of inflammatory diseases and cancer. Pros and cons of these therapeutic interventions will be highlighted.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1953
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 4 2018


  • Cancer
  • Inflammatory diseases
  • Macrophage depletion
  • Macrophage targeting
  • Nanomedicine
  • Preclinical models

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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