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Up-regulation of NK cell function against head and neck cancer in response to ss-isRNA requires TLR7

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Natural killer (NK) cells play a crucial role in innate immunity as effectors against tumor and pathogen-infected cells. NK-mediated host defense against tumor cells is strongly impaired in patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). Tumor secretion of various immune suppressive mediators contributes to massively compromised immune functions. Herein we demonstrate that NK cell cytotoxicity against tumor cells of HNSCC can be efficiently stimulated by single-stranded immunostimulatory RNA (ss-isRNA). Stimulation with ss-isRNA results in an increased production of interferon-γ and effector proteins perforin and granzyme B. Our investigations revealed that supernatants of permanent HNSCC cell lines negatively affect the ss-isRNA-triggered stimulation of cytolytic NK cell functions. Stimulation of cytotoxicity requires Toll-like receptor 7 (TLR7). Increased expression of NK cell TLR7 was shown in response to ss-isRNA. These results suggest ss-isRNA as a potential immunostimulatory tool of human NK cells against HNSCC.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Otorhinolaryngology, University of Schleswig-Holstein Campus Lübeck, D-23538 Lübeck, Germany

Publication date: November 1, 2008

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  • The International Journal of Oncology provides an international forum for the publication of the latest, cutting-edge research in the broad area of oncology and cancer treatment. The journal accepts original high quality works and reviews on all aspects of oncology research including carcinogenesis, metastasis, epidemiology, chemotherapy and viral oncology. Through fair and efficient peer review, the journal is dedicated to publishing top tier research in the field, offering authors rapid publication as well as high standards of copy-editing and production. The International Journal of Oncology is published on a monthly basis in both print and early online.
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