, Volume 60, Issue 9, pp 1211-1220
Date: 26 Jul 2011

Lung cancer and Toll-like receptors

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Lung carcinoma is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. It is a non-immunogenic cancer, resistant to immune surveillance. Toll-like receptors (TLRs) connect the innate to the adaptive immune system. Given that cancerous cells evade the immune system, the activation of TLRs could represent a potential target for cancer therapy. The induction of Th1-like and cytotoxic immunity by TLR signalling could lead to tumour cell death, resulting in tumour regression or arrest. However, basic research and clinical trials revealed that the activation of specific TLRs, such as TLR2, TLR4 and TLR9, do not have any anti-tumour activity in lung carcinoma. Increasing evidence suggests that TLRs are important regulators of tumour biology; however, little is known about their function in lung cancer. Thus, in order to develop new therapeutic approaches, further studies are needed to understand the connection between TLRs and lung cancer progression. This review focuses on the potential mechanisms by which TLR ligands can facilitate or not lung cancer and lung metastases establishment/progression.