TLR3 as a biomarker for the therapeutic efficacy of double-stranded RNA in breast cancer

Cancer Res. 2011 Mar 1;71(5):1607-14. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-10-3490. Epub 2011 Feb 22.


The discovery of a targeted therapeutic compound along with its companion predictive biomarker is a major goal of clinical development for a personalized anticancer therapy to date. Here we present evidence of the predictive value of TLR3 expression by tumor cells for the efficacy of Poly (A:U) dsRNA in 194 breast cancer patients enrolled in a randomized clinical trial. Adjuvant treatment with double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) was associated with a significant decrease in the risk of metastatic relapse in TLR3 positive but not in TLR3-negative breast cancers. Moreover, we show the functional relevance of TLR3 expression by human tumor cells for the antitumor effects mediated by dsRNA in several preclinical mouse models carried out in immunocompromised animals. These 2 independent lines of evidence relied upon the generation of a novel tool, an anti-TLR3 antibody (40F9.6) validated for routine detection of TLR3 expression on paraffin-embedded tissues. Altogether, these data suggest that dsRNA mediates its therapeutic effect through TLR3 expressed on tumor cells, and could therefore represent an effective targeted treatment in patients with TLR3-positive cancers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal*
  • Antibody Specificity
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis*
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Multicenter Studies as Topic
  • RNA, Double-Stranded / therapeutic use*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Toll-Like Receptor 3 / analysis
  • Toll-Like Receptor 3 / biosynthesis*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • RNA, Double-Stranded
  • TLR3 protein, human
  • Toll-Like Receptor 3