Polymorphisms in Toll-like receptor genes and risk of cancer

E. M. El-Omar, M. T. Ng, G. L. Hold

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature review

196 Citations (Scopus)


Host genetic factors are emerging as key determinants of disease risk for many cancers. Identifying candidate genes is a major challenge that has to stem from a profound understanding of the pathophysiology of the disease. The Toll-like receptors are important members of the host's innate immune response and their genes have been found to be polymorphic. This genetic variation allows for a more intricate repertoire that enables the host to withstand microbial challenges. While this may be advantageous on a population level, there may be less favourable outcomes for individuals that harbour certain genotypes associated with excessive immune activation and inflammatory drive. The damage is often collateral and is manifest in organs where this chronic inflammation alters normal physiology. A classic example of this paradigm is the Helicobacter pylori-induced gastric cancer model. Another emerging model is prostate cancer where Toll-like receptor polymorphisms have also been found to play a role. In this review, we discuss polymorphisms in Toll-like receptors and give an insight into how they may influence risk of cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)244-252
Number of pages9
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2008


  • gastric cancer
  • Helicobacter pylori
  • genetic polymorphisms
  • single nucleotide polymorphisms
  • Toll-like receptors
  • prostate cancer
  • helicobacter-pylori infection
  • single-nucleotide polymorphisms
  • stop codon polymorphism
  • duodenal-ulcer disease
  • allele-specific PCR
  • sequence variants
  • innate immunity
  • gastric-cancer
  • atrophic gastritis
  • epithelial-cells


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