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International Journal of Breast Cancer
Volume 2012, Article ID 716564, 6 pages
Review Article

Expression of Toll-Like Receptors on Breast Tumors: Taking a Toll on Tumor Microenvironment

1Department of Dermatology and Skin Diseases Research Center, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 1670 University Boulvard, VH 566A, P.O. Box 202, Birmingham, AL 35294-0009, USA
2Veteran's Affairs Medical Center, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294, USA
3Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294-0019, USA

Received 15 August 2011; Accepted 19 September 2011

Academic Editor: Douglas R. Hurst

Copyright © 2012 Debika Bhattacharya and Nabiha Yusuf. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Breast cancer remains a major cause of death in women in the developed world. As Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are widely expressed on tumor cells and play important roles in the initiation and progression of cancer, they may thus serve as important targets and have an effective perspective on breast cancer treatment. Expression of TLRs on breast cancer cells and mononuclear inflammatory cells can promote inflammation and cell survival in the tumor microenvironment. Inflammation and cancer are related. It is well known that persistent inflammatory conditions can induce cancer formation, due to production of cytokines and chemokines, which play a crucial role in promoting angiogenesis, metastasis, and subversion of adaptive immunity. TLR signaling in tumor cells can mediate tumor cell immune escape and tumor progression, and it is regarded as one of the mechanisms for chronic inflammation in tumorigenesis and progression. This paper delineates the expression of various TLRs in promotion of inflammation and development of mammary tumors. Understanding the mechanisms through which TLRs on breast cancer cells and inflammatory cells regulate growth, survival, and metastatic progression can make them potential targets for breast cancer therapy.