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Human lymphocyte antigen (HLA) class I molecules play a central role in cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs)-based antitumor immunity. However, the expression rate of HLA class I in cancer cells still remain discussing. We compared HLA class I expression levels between cancer cells and surrounding non-tumorous hepatocytes in 20 early-stage hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients by immunohistochemistry using EMR 8-5. The expression levels of HLA class I were classified as negative, incomplete positive, or complete positive. Similarly, for various types of solid cancers, HLA class I expression was examined. For the HLA class I expression in cancer cells, among 20 HCC patients, 13 were complete positive, three were incomplete positive, and four were negative. Additionally, 15 (75.0%) had higher expression levels of HLA class I in cancer cells compared with that in surrounding non-tumorous hepatocytes. An interferon-γ (IFN-γ) enzyme-linked immunospot (ELISPOT) assay indicated that cancer cells with positive expression of HLA class I had strong sensitivity to antigen-specific CTLs. We suggested that HLA class I expression in cancer cells could be involved in the clinical prognosis of HCC patients. Similarly, 66.7%, 100.0%, 66.7%, and 62.5% of patients with early stage pancreatic, gallbladder, esophageal, and breast cancers had higher expression levels of HLA class I in cancer cells than in surrounding normal tissue cells. We suggest that in several early-stage solid cancers, including HCC, HLA class I expression levels in cancer cells are higher than that in surrounding normal tissue cells, which could result in the anti-tumor effect of CTLs-based cancer immunotherapy. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Cancer science
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