Small interfering RNA-directed targeting of Toll-like receptor 4 inhibits human prostate cancer cell invasion, survival, and tumorigenicity

Dong Hua, Meng yuan Liu, Zhi de Cheng, Xiang jing Qin, Hai mou Zhang, Yong Chen, Gang jian Qin, Gang Liang, Ji nan Li, Xiao feng Han*, Dong xu Liu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


A major cause of tumor treatment failure is cancer cell metastasis. Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4)-mediated signaling has been implicated in tumor cell invasion, survival, and metastasis in a variety of cancers. In this study, we investigated the biological roles of TLR4 in prostate metastatic cell invasion and survival, and the potential of gene silencing of TLR4 using small interfering RNA (siRNA) for treatment of cancer. In cultured human prostate cancer cell lines, TLR4 were higher PC3 and DU145 as compared with the poorly metastatic LNCaP indicating that up-regulation of TLR4 was positively correlated with metastasis of tumor cell. In the highly metastatic cancer cell PC3, gene silencing of TLR4 using siRNA significantly inhibited TLR4 mRNA expression and protein level. Knockdown of TLR4 in PC3 cells resulted in a dramatic reduction of tumor cell migration and invasion as indicated by a Matrigel invasion assay. Furthermore, TLR4 siRNA suppressed cell viability and ultimately caused the induction of apoptotic cell death. The effects were associated with abrogating TLR4-mediated signaling to downstream target molecules such as myeloid differentiation factor 88 (MyD88), adaptor-inducing IFN-beta (TRIF), and interferon regulatory factor-1 (IRF-1). In a mouse prostate cancer model, administration with the plasmid construct expressing siRNA for TLR4 obviously inhibited established tumor growth and survival. These studies revealed evidence of a multifaceted signaling network operating downstream of TLR4-mediated tumor cell invasion, proliferation, and survival. Thus, RNA interference-directed targeting of TLR4 may raise the potential of its application for cancer therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2876-2884
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular Immunology
Issue number15
StatePublished - Sep 2009


  • Invasion
  • Prostate
  • TLR
  • Tumor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Immunology


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