TLRs play a critical role in innate immunity since they are expressed not only in innate immune cells, but also in nonimmune cells including cancer cells. Functional TLR4 expression has been linked to HCC development. TLR4 may serve an important role in HCC cancer tumorigenesis by promoting the malignant transformation of epithelial cells and tumor growth. The consequences might be dependent on the complex signaling networks triggered by TLR4 activation and the tumor microenvironment. A few studies have suggested TLR4 as a target in the treatment of HCC. Based on these findings, agents targeting TLR4 together with other therapies may be considered the best approaches. Above all, the mechanisms of TLR4 signaling and crosstalk with other signaling pathways in the HCC microenvironment will definitely provide a promising novel strategy for cancer treatment.


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The study was supported in part by the grant from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (number 81372668) and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (2014QN064).


The authors report no conflicts of interest in this work.

Jing Yang,1 Min Li,2 Qi Chang Zheng2

1Department of First General Surgery, Gansu Provincial Hospital, Lanzhou, 2Department of Hepatobiliary Surgery, Union Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, People’s Republic of China.  


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Source: Journal of Hepatocellular Carcinoma
Originally published on February 16, 2015.