Compelling evidence suggests that inflammation, cell survival, and cancer are linked, with a central role played by NF-κB. Recent studies implicate some TLRs in tumor development based on their ability to facilitate tumor growth; however, to our knowledge, involvement of neither TLR7 nor TLR78 has yet been demonstrated. Here we have demonstrated expression of TLR7 and TLR8, the natural receptors for single-stranded RNA, by tumor cells in human lung cancer in situ and in human lung tumor cell lines. Stimulation with TLR7 or TLR8 agonists led to activated NF-κB, upregulated expression of the antiapoptotic protein Bcl-2, increased tumor cell survival, and chemoresistance. Transcriptional analysis performed on human primary lung tumor cells and TLR7- or TLR8-stimulated human lung tumor cell lines revealed a gene expression signature suggestive of chronic stimulation of tumor cells by TLR ligands in situ. Together, these data emphasize that TLR signaling can directly favor tumor development and further suggest that researchers developing anticancer immunotherapy using TLR7 or TLR8 agonists as adjuvants should take into account the expression of these TLRs in lung tumor cells.
Julien Cherfils-Vicini, Sophia Platonova, Mélanie Gillard, Ludivine Laurans, Pierre Validire, Rafaele Caliandro, Pierre Magdeleinat, Fathia Mami-Chouaib, Marie-Caroline Dieu-Nosjean, Wolf-Herman Fridman, Diane Damotte, Catherine Sautès-Fridman, Isabelle Cremer