Immunotherapeutic applications of CpG oligodeoxynucleotide TLR9 agonists

Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2009 Mar 28;61(3):195-204. doi: 10.1016/j.addr.2008.12.008. Epub 2009 Jan 13.


Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9) agonists have demonstrated substantial potential as vaccine adjuvants, and as mono- or combination therapies for the treatment of cancer and infectious and allergic diseases. Commonly referred to as CpG oligodeoxynucleotides (ODN), TLR9 agonists directly induce the activation and maturation of plasmacytoid dendritic cells and enhance differentiation of B cells into antibody-secreting plasma cells. Preclinical and early clinical data support the use of TLR9 agonists as vaccine adjuvants, where they can enhance both the humoral and cellular responses to diverse antigens. In mouse tumor models TLR9 agonists have shown activity not only as monotherapy, but also in combination with multiple other therapies including vaccines, antibodies, cellular therapies, other immunotherapies, antiangiogenic agents, radiotherapy, cryotherapy, and some chemotherapies. Phase I and II clinical trials have indicated that these agents have antitumor activity as single agents and enhance the development of antitumor T-cell responses when used as therapeutic vaccine adjuvants. CpG ODN have shown benefit in multiple rodent and primate models of asthma and other allergic diseases, with encouraging results in some early human clinical trials. Although their potential clinical contributions are enormous, the safety and efficacy of these TLR9 agonists in humans remain to be determined.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / therapeutic use*
  • Animals
  • Asthma / drug therapy
  • Asthma / immunology
  • Autoimmunity
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Communicable Diseases / drug therapy
  • Communicable Diseases / immunology
  • CpG Islands*
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / drug therapy
  • Hypersensitivity / immunology
  • Immunotherapy
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Oligodeoxyribonucleotides / therapeutic use*
  • Toll-Like Receptor 9 / agonists*
  • Vaccines


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • CPG-oligonucleotide
  • Oligodeoxyribonucleotides
  • Toll-Like Receptor 9
  • Vaccines