Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a malignant tumor with a complex and diverse immunosuppressive microenvironment. Tumor-associated macrophages (TAM) are an essential component of the tumor immune microenvironment. TAMs typically exist in two primary states: anti-tumor M1 macrophages and protumor M2 macrophages. Remarkably, TAMs possess high plasticity, enabling them to switch between different subtypes or alter their biological functions in response to the tumor microenvironment.

Based on research into the biological role of TAMs in the occurrence and development of malignant tumors, including HCC, TAMs are emerging as promising targets for novel tumor treatment strategies. In this review, we provide a detailed introduction to the origin and subtypes of TAMs, elucidate their interactions with other cells in the complex tumor microenvironment of HCC, and describe the biological roles, characteristics, and mechanisms of TAMs in the progression of HCC. Furthermore, we furnish an overview of the latest therapeutic strategies targeting TAMs.

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