Exogenous or endogenous Toll-like receptor ligands: which is the MVP in tumorigenesis?
ABSTRACT Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are a class of pattern recognition receptors sensing microbial components and triggering an immune response against pathogens. In addition to their role in anti-infection immunity, increasing evidence indicates that engagement of TLRs can promote cancer cell survival and proliferation, induce tumor immune evasion, and enhance tumor metastasis and chemoresistance. Recent studies have demonstrated that endogenous molecules or damage-associated molecular patterns released from damaged/necrotic tissues are capable of activating TLRs and that the endogenous ligands-mediated TLR signaling is implicated in the tumor development and affects the therapeutic efficacy of tumors. Since both exogenous and endogenous TLR ligands can initiate TLR signaling, which is the most valuable player in tumor development becomes an interesting question. Here, we summarize the effect of TLR signaling on the development and progression of tumors, and discuss the role of exogenous and endogenous TLR ligands in the tumorigenesis.