Activation of Toll-like receptor 3 induces apoptosis of oral squamous carcinoma cells in vitro and in vivo

Qingqiong Luo, Shuiqing Hu, Ming Yan, Zujun Sun, Wantao Chen, Fuxiang Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Toll-like receptors are well known as molecular sensors of pathogen-associated molecular patterns. They control activation of the innate immune response and subsequently shape the adaptive immune response. Recent publications have demonstrated that Toll-like receptors also play important roles in multiple human cancers, yet their function in oral squamous cell carcinoma remains unclear. In this study, we showed that both oral squamous cell carcinoma cell lines and tissues from oral squamous carcinoma patients express relatively high levels of Toll-like receptor 3. We also found that synthetic dsRNA-polyinosinic-polycytidilic acid, a Toll-like receptor 3 ligand, induced apoptosis of oral squamous carcinoma cells mainly via Toll-like receptor 3, through interferon-β production and activation of caspases 3 and 9. Moreover, in an oral squamous cell carcinoma xenograft mouse model, we demonstrated for the first time that activation of Toll-like receptor 3 inhibited oral squamous cell carcinoma tumor growth in vivo. Therefore, the direct proapoptotic activity of Toll-like receptor 3 in human oral squamous carcinoma cells may make this protein a viable therapeutic target in the treatment of oral squamous cell carcinoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1266-1275
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2012


  • Apoptosis
  • Caspase 3
  • Interferon-β
  • Oral squamous cell carcinoma
  • Toll-like receptor 3
  • dsRNA-polyinosinic-polycytidilic acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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