Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Irvine

UC Irvine Previously Published Works bannerUC Irvine

Targeting TLR-4 with a novel pharmaceutical grade plant derived agonist, Immunomax®, as a therapeutic strategy for metastatic breast cancer.



Previously we demonstrated that the resection of primary 4T1 tumors only slightly prolongs mouse survival, but importantly, creates a "window of opportunity" with attenuated suppressor cell and increased activated T cell populations. This suggests that additional activation of the immune system by immunostimulatory agents during this period may enhance anti-tumor immunity and potentially eradicate micro-metastatic disease in this stringent model. We hypothesized that the immunostimulator Immunomax®, which is comprised of a plant-derived polysaccharide, is non-toxic in humans and stimulates immune defense during the infectious diseases treatment, may have also anti-tumor activity and be beneficial in the adjuvant setting when endogenous anti-tumor responses are present and during the "window of opportunity" in post-resection metastatic breast cancer model. Here we provide the initial report that Immunomax® demonstrates the capacity to eliminate micro-metastatic disease in the post-resection, 4T1 mouse model of breast cancer.


The efficacy of Immunomax® was evaluated by analyzing survival rate and the number of spontaneous clonogenic tumor cells in the lung homogenates of mice. The frequencies of activated NK, CD4(+) and CD8(+) cells as well as myeloid-derived suppressor cells and Treg cells were evaluated using flow cytometry. Highly purified mouse and human dendritic and NK cells were sorted and the effect of Immunomax® on activation status of these cells was assessed by flow cytometry. The property of Immunomax® as TLR-4 agonist was determined by NF-κB/SEAP reporter gene assay, WB, RT-PCR.


Immunomax® injections significantly prolonged overall survival and cured 31% of mice. This immunostimulator activates DCs via the TLR-4, which in turn stimulates tumoricidal NK cells and in vitro, completely inhibits growth of 4T1 cells. Incubation of PBMC from healthy donors with Immunomax® activates NK cells via activation of plasmacytoid DC leading significantly higher efficacy in killing of human NK-target cells K562 compared with non-treated cells.


This is the first demonstration that Immunomax® is a TLR-4 agonist and the first report of a documented role for this pharmaceutical grade immunostimulator in augmenting anti-tumor activity, suggesting that incorporation of Immunomax® into developing breast cancer therapeutic strategies may be beneficial and with less potential toxicity than checkpoint inhibitors.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View