Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy

, Volume 57, Issue 9, pp 1271–1278 | Cite as

Toll-like receptors expressed in tumor cells: targets for therapy



Toll-like receptors (TLRs), mainly expressing in human immune related cells and epithelial cells, play an essential role in the host defense against microbes by recognizing conserved bacterial molecules. Recently, the expression or up-regulation of TLRs has been detected in many tumor cell lines or tumors, especially epithelial derived cancers. Although the TLR profile varies on different tumor cells, the current evidences indicate that the expression of TLRs is functionally associated with tumor progression. TLR expression may promote malignant transformation of epithelial cells. Engagement of TLRs increases tumor growth and tumor immune escape, and induces apoptosis resistance and chemoresistance in some tumor cells. These findings demonstrate that TLR is a promising target for the development of anticancer drugs and make TLR agonists or antagonists the potential agents for tumor therapy.


Toll-like receptors Tumor Therapy Target Agonist 



Bacillus Calmette-Guerin cell wall skeleton


Chronic lymphocytic leukemia




Dendritic cells


High-mobility-group box 1


Inducible nitric oxide synthase


IL-1R-associated kinase


IFN regulatory factor 3


Listeria monocytogenes




Myeloid differentiation primary-response protein 88


Pathogen-associated molecular patterns


Polyinosine-polycytidylic acid


Toll/interleukin-1 receptor


Toll-like receptors


TRIF-related adaptor molecule


Tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated factor-6


TIR-domain-containing adaptor inducing IFN-β


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Histopathology, The First Affiliated HospitalSun Yat-sen (Zhongshan) UniversityGuangzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory for Biocontrol, Guangdong Key Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Functional Genes, Department of BiochemistrySchool of Life Sciences, Sun Yat-sen (Zhongshan) UniversityGuangzhouPeople’s Republic of China

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