Trial watch: TLR3 agonists in cancer therapy

Julie Le Naour, Lorenzo Galluzzi, Laurence Zitvogel, Guido Kroemer, Erika Vacchelli
Oncoimmunology 2020 June 2, 9 (1): 1771143

Toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3) is a pattern recognition receptor that senses exogenous (viral) as well as endogenous (mammalian) double-stranded RNA in endosomes. On activation, TLR3 initiates a signal transduction pathway that culminates with the secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines including type I interferon (IFN). The latter is essential not only for innate immune responses to infection but also for the initiation of antigen-specific immunity against viruses and malignant cells. These aspects of TLR3 biology have supported the development of various agonists for use as stand-alone agents or combined with other therapeutic modalities in cancer patients. Here, we review recent preclinical and clinical advances in the development of TLR3 agonists for oncological disorders.

Abbreviations: cDC, conventional dendritic cell; CMT, cytokine modulating treatment; CRC, colorectal carcinoma; CTL, cytotoxic T lymphocyte; DC, dendritic cell; dsRNA, double-stranded RNA; FLT3LG, fms-related receptor tyrosine kinase 3 ligand; HNSCC, head and neck squamous cell carcinoma; IFN, interferon; IL, interleukin; ISV, in situ vaccine; MUC1, mucin 1, cell surface associated; PD-1, programmed cell death 1; PD-L1, programmed death-ligand 1; polyA:U, polyadenylic:polyuridylic acid; polyI:C, polyriboinosinic:polyribocytidylic acid; TLR, Toll-like receptor.

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