Development of effective tumor immunotherapy using a novel dendritic cell-targeting Toll-like receptor ligand

PLoS One. 2017 Nov 30;12(11):e0188738. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0188738. eCollection 2017.


Although dendritic cell (DC)-based immunotherapy shows little toxicity, improvements should be necessary to obtain satisfactory clinical outcome. Using interferon-gamma injection along with DCs, we previously obtained significant clinical responses against small or early stage malignant tumors in dogs. However, improvement was necessary to be effective to largely developed or metastatic tumors. To obtain effective methods applicable to those tumors, we herein used a DC-targeting Toll-like receptor ligand, h11c, and examined the therapeutic effects in murine subcutaneous and visceral tumor models and also in the clinical treatment of canine cancers. In murine experiments, most and significant inhibition of tumor growth and extended survival was observed in the group treated with the combination of h11c-activated DCs in combination with interferon-gamma and a cyclooxygenase2 inhibitor. Both monocytic and granulocytic myeloid-derived suppressor cells were significantly reduced by the combined treatment. Following the successful results in mice, the combined treatment was examined against canine cancers, which spontaneously generated like as those in human. The combined treatment elicited significant clinical responses against a nonepithelial malignant tumor and a malignant fibrous histiocytoma. The treatment was also successful against a bone-metastasis of squamous cell carcinoma. In the successful cases, the marked increase of tumor-responding T cells and decrease of myeloid-derived suppressor cells and regulatory T cells was observed in their peripheral blood. Although the combined treatment permitted the growth of lung cancer of renal carcinoma-metastasis, the marked elevated and long-term maintaining of the tumor-responding T cells was observed in the patient dog. Overall, the combined treatment gave rise to emphatic amelioration in DC-based cancer therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology*
  • Dog Diseases / therapy
  • Dogs
  • Immunotherapy*
  • Ligands
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Neoplasms / veterinary
  • Toll-Like Receptors / metabolism*


  • Ligands
  • Toll-Like Receptors

Grant support

This work was supported by Grant-in-Aid for Science Research (B) No. 23380174 from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.