Macrophage Migration and Phagocytosis in Breast Cancer Microenvironment

Macrophage Migration and Phagocytosis in Breast Cancer Microenvironment



Elizabeth A. Avera, Sarah E. Lamb


Presentation: 1:15 p.m.-2:30 p.m., Kennedy Union Ballroom

This project reflects research conducted as part of a course project designed to give students experience in the research process.

Course: MED 480



Macrophages are a specialized type of immune cell that work via phagocytosis, a process in which they engulf and destroy foreign materials, and apoptosis, in which macrophages induce programmed cell death in infected or abnormal cells. Two major subtypes of macrophages include M1 macrophages, which are activated macrophages and induce inflammatory responses, and M2 macrophages, which are alternatively activated and induce anti-inflammatory responses (Abdulhadi, 2014). M1 macrophages have been studied in response to cancer environments for their ability to target cancer cells and trigger phagocytosis (Jaiswal et al., 2010). On the other hand, M2 macrophages are pro-tumorigenic, which can trigger angiogenesis, the development of new blood vessels, and other growth and healing factors, thus promoting tumor invasion and metastasis (Forssell et al., 2007). In 2018, breast cancer was the second leading cause of cancer related deaths in women, making the mechanisms of breast cancer progression important to study (Seigal et al., 2021). This poster will showcase tumor surveillance behaviors of macrophages in response to tumor-associated factors such as chemoattractants, or chemical substances that attract motile cells, protein binding molecules, soluble components from the cancer culture medium, etc., on the migration behavior of the macrophages. With an increased understanding of the factors that impact macrophage migration, this poster will also investigate macrophage’s effects on stimulating cancer phagocytosis and/or apoptosis. In this presentation, we will discuss current studies performed on the immune effects of macrophages in breast cancer invasiveness and progression in order to better understand the role macrophages play.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Course Project

Primary Advisor

Loan T. Bui, Thomas E. Herchline

Primary Advisor's Department

Premedical Programs


Stander Symposium project, College of Arts and Sciences

Macrophage Migration and Phagocytosis in Breast Cancer Microenvironment