The fact that various immune cells, including macrophages, can be found in tumor tissues has long been known. With the introduction of concept that macrophages differentiate into a classically or alternatively activated phenotype, the role of tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) is now beginning to be elucidated. TAMs act as “protumoral macrophages,” contributing to disease progression. TAMs can promote initiation and metastasis of tumor cells, inhibit antitumor immune responses mediated by T cells, and stimulate tumor angiogenesis and subsequently tumor progression. As the relationship between TAMs and malignant tumors becomes clearer, TAMs are beginning to be seen as potential biomarkers for diagnosis and prognosis of cancers, as well as therapeutic targets in these cases. In this review, we will discuss the origin, polarization, and role of TAMs in human malignant tumors, as well as how TAMs can be used as diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers and therapeutic targets of cancer in clinics.