Cooperative phagocytosis of solid tumours by macrophages triggers durable anti-tumour responses

In solid tumours, the abundance of macrophages is typically associated with a poor prognosis. However, macrophage clusters in tumour-cell nests have been associated with survival in some tumour types. Here, by using tumour organoids comprising macrophages and cancer cells opsonized via a monoclonal antibody, we show that highly ordered clusters of macrophages cooperatively phagocytose cancer cells to suppress tumour growth. In mice with poorly immunogenic tumours, the systemic delivery of macrophages with signal-regulatory protein alpha (SIRPα) genetically knocked out or else with blockade of the CD47–SIRPα macrophage checkpoint was combined with the monoclonal antibody and subsequently triggered the production of endogenous tumour-opsonizing immunoglobulin G, substantially increased the survival of the animals and helped confer durable protection from tumour re-challenge and metastasis. Maximizing phagocytic potency by increasing macrophage numbers, by tumour-cell opsonization and by disrupting the phagocytic checkpoint CD47–SIRPα may lead to durable anti-tumour responses in solid cancers.