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Cancer Res. 2004 Aug 1;64(15):5461-70.

Expression of toll-like receptor 4 on dendritic cells is significant for anticancer effect of dendritic cell-based immunotherapy in combination with an active component of OK-432, a streptococcal preparation.

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  • 1Second Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Tokushima University School of Dentistry, 3-18-15 Kuramoto-cho, Tokushima 770 8504, Japan.


A lipoteichoic acid-related molecule OK-PSA is an active component of OK-432, a Streptococcus-derived anticancer immunotherapeutic agent. In the present study, we first examined the effect of OK-PSA on the maturation of dendritic cells (DCs) in vitro by using the DCs derived from 5 healthy donors and 10 patients with head and neck cancer with or without expression of toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) or MD-2 mRNA. OK-PSA treatment effectively increased the surface expression of MHC class II, CD80, CD83, and CD86. OK-PSA-stimulated DCs secreted the cytokines that can induce helper T-cell 1 (Th1)-type T-cell response, and stimulated allogeneic T cells to produce IFN-gamma and to elicit an allogeneic antigen-specific cytotoxicity. These activities almost depended on expression of TLR4 and MD-2 genes. We next investigated the in vivo anticancer effect of intratumoral administration of syngeneic DCs followed by OK-PSA against established tumors in mice. C57BL/6 mice, which express wild-type TLR4, and C57BL/6-derived TLR4-knockout (TLR4(-/-)) mice were used. Although OK-PSA accelerated the antitumor effect of intratumoral DC administration in wild-type mice bearing syngeneic tumors, the antitumor effect of OK-PSA as well as of the combination therapy with DCs and OK-PSA was not significant in TLR4(-/-) mice. Interestingly, an administration of wild-type-mouse-derived DCs followed by OK-PSA exhibited a marked antitumor effect even in the TLR4(-/-) mice. These findings suggest that OK-PSA may be a potent adjuvant for local DC therapy, and that DC therapy followed by OK-PSA is able to elicit anticancer activity even in a TLR4-deficient host when TLR4 is expressed only in DCs injected intratumorally.

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