The toll-like receptor (TLR) system constitutes a pylogenetically ancient, evolutionary conserved, archetypal pattern recognition system, which underpins pathogen recognition by and activation of the immune system. Toll-like receptor agonists have long been used as immunoadjuvants in anti cancer immunotherapy. However, TLRs are increasingly implicated in human disease pathogenesis and an expanding body of both clinical and experimental evidence suggests that the neoplastic process may subvert TLR signalling pathways to advance cancer progression. Recent discoveries in the TLR system open a multitude of potential therapeutic avenues. Extrapolation of such TLR system manipulations to a clinical oncological setting demands care to prevent potentially deleterious activation of TLR-mediated survival pathways. Thus, the TLR system is a double-edge sword, which needs to be carefully wielded in the setting of neoplastic disease.