Functional toll-like receptor 3 expressed by oral squamous cell carcinoma induced cell apoptosis and decreased migration

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The aim of this study was to investigate the expression and function of toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3) in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC).

Study Design.

We first assessed TLR3 expression in 20 cases of primary OSCC tissue. Two OSCC cell lines, SCC4 and CAL27, were used for further study. Lyophilized polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid [Poly(I:C)] was used to activate TLR3 expressed by OSCC. Changes in cytokines expression, cell viability, apoptosis, and migration in OSCC were investigated.


TLR3 was present in both OSCC tissue and the 2 OSCC cell lines examined. Poly(I:C) stimulated robust responses in OSCC: it upregulated cytokine expression; decreased cell viability by suppressing cell proliferation and inducing apoptosis; and decreased cell migration. Poly(I:C)-TLR3-induced OSCC cell apoptosis was caspase-3-dependent.


The present study indicated that TLR3 might affect OSCC development and should be considered as a potential target for future OSCC immunotherapy.

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