Macrophages and microglia in glioblastoma
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Glioblastoma is the most common and most deadly form of brain cancer. With treatment, expected survival time after diagnosis is 15 months and the disease presents with universal morbidity. Current therapies include surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. One of the current fields of interest for glioblastoma research is in immunotherapy and specifically tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs). Normally, macrophages in an infection or disease state work to degrade and digest pathogens and cancer cells. However, in glioblastoma, current evidence points to TAMs as active tumor-supporters and immunosuppressants. While the field is still relatively in its infancy, much is known about TAMs and their interactions with other immune cells and with cancer cells. This paper elucidates all the different aspects in which TAMs work to support GBM cancer cells and how they encourage tumor growth, progression, and migration. This review consolidates the pertinent information known on how TAMs are recruited, how they contribute to angiogenesis, how they promote tumor migration, how they interact with T cells, and how they become polarized to become tumor-supportive macrophages and suggests approaches for future research given this knowledge.