Non-coding RNAs regulation of macrophage polarization in cancer

Swati Mohapatra, Carlotta Pioppini, Bulent Ozpolat, George A. Calin

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    91 Scopus citations


    Noncoding RNA (ncRNA) transcripts that did not code proteins but regulate their functions were extensively studied for the last two decades and the plethora of discoveries have instigated scientists to investigate their dynamic roles in several diseases especially in cancer. However, there is much more to learn about the role of ncRNAs as drivers of malignant cell evolution in relation to macrophage polarization in the tumor microenvironment. At the initial stage of tumor development, macrophages have an important role in directing Go/No-go decisions to the promotion of tumor growth, immunosuppression, and angiogenesis. Tumor-associated macrophages behave differently as they are predominantly induced to be polarized into M2, a pro-tumorigenic type when recruited with the tumor tissue and thereby favoring the tumorigenesis. Polarization of macrophages into M1 or M2 subtypes plays a vital role in regulating tumor progression, metastasis, and clinical outcome, highlighting the importance of studying the factors driving this process. A substantial number of studies have demonstrated that ncRNAs are involved in the macrophage polarization based on their ability to drive M1 or M2 polarization and in this review we have described their functions and categorized them into oncogenes, tumor suppressors, Juggling tumor suppressors, and Juggling oncogenes.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Article number24
    JournalMolecular Cancer
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Dec 2021


    • Cancer
    • Long noncoding RNAs
    • Macrophages
    • MicroRNAs
    • Polarization

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Molecular Medicine
    • Oncology
    • Cancer Research


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