Understanding supports for cancer stem-like cells in malignant glioma may suggest therapeutic strategies for their elimination. Here, we show that the Toll-like receptor TLR9 is elevated in glioma stem-like cells (GSC) in which it contributes to glioma growth. TLR9 overexpression is regulated by STAT3, which is required for GSC maintenance. Stimulation of TLR9 with a CpG ligand (CpG ODN) promoted GSC growth, whereas silencing TLR9 expression abrogated GSC development. CpG-ODN treatment induced Frizzled4-dependent activation of JAK2, thereby activating STAT3. Targeted delivery of siRNA into GSC was achieved via TLR9 using CpG-siRNA conjugates. Through local or systemic treatment, administration of CpG-Stat3 siRNA to silence STAT3 in vivo reduced GSC along with glioma growth. Our findings identify TLR9 as a functional marker for GSC and a target for the delivery of efficacious therapeutics for glioma treatment.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research