HLA expression in human hepatocellular carcinoma


This study examines the expression of MHC class I and II antigens and their related invariant chains in 70 cases of human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), using monoclonal (Mabs) and polyclonal antibodies. In comparison with normal hepatocytes, the majority (94.3%) of HCCs show enhancement or acquisition of HLA-A, B, C in either a cytoplasmic or membranous distribution, with staining being uniformly distributed throughout the specimen. HLA-A, B, C was accompanied by beta 2-microglobulin expression in all but two cases. Although 44.9% of specimens showed HLA-DR expression, positively staining tumour cells were often sparse and heterogeneously distributed. By contrast, the invariant (I) chain, present in 47.1% of cases, was frequently intensively stained and extensive in distribution. HLA-DR staining was usually cytoplasmic although two cases showed faint membranous enhancement. In addition to HLA-DR and I-chain, two cases also showed HLA-DQ staining. Display of MHC antigens was not related to tumour differentiation or size of the lesion (resected vs. advanced tumours). It is possible that the acquisition of class I antigens by the majority of HCCs may influence tumour behaviour.

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Paterson, A., Sciot, R., Kew, M. et al. HLA expression in human hepatocellular carcinoma. Br J Cancer 57, 369–373 (1988). https://doi.org/10.1038/bjc.1988.84

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