Imiquimod is a TLR agonist that is used as an antitumor agent, mainly against skin tumors. Its clinical benefits are well described in several studies; however, the mechanisms behind its antitumor effects are not completely understood. In this issue of the JCI, Drobits and colleagues demonstrate that topical application of imiquimod suppresses cutaneous melanoma by TLR7-dependent recruitment and transformation of plasmacytoid dendritic cells into killer cells; this occurs independently of conventional adaptive immune mechanisms.
Sonia Jiménez-Baranda, Inês Pires Silva, Nina Bhardwaj
Mechanism of imiquimod-mediated tumor cell killing by pDCs.