Analysis of HLA-G expression in breast cancer tissues

Giulio Lelio Palmisano, Maria Pia Pistillo, Paolo Fardin, Paolo Capanni, Guido Nicolò, Sandra Salvi, Bruno Spina, Gennaro Pasciucco, Giovanni Battista Ferrara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Among the different mechanisms by which cancer can elude the immune system, alterations in the expression of human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I molecules on tumor cells may play a crucial role by impairing the HLA molecules interaction with T and natural killer (NK) cells specific receptors. More recently, aberrant expression of HLA-G has been described in different tumor tissues in addition to HLA class I downregulation. The HLA-G molecule is a nonclassical HLA class I antigen selectively expressed by trophoblast and thymic epithelial cells. Several studies reported that the HLA-G function might represent an additional mechanism of tumor immune escape, mainly inhibiting NK and cytotoxic T-cell activity. Here we report the analysis of HLA-G expression both at RNA level by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction and at protein level by Western blot and immunohistochemistry in 25 breast cancer patient tissues. The aim of this study was to elucidate the HLA-G gene expression pattern in breast tumor tissues and correlate it with HLA class I alterations. Our results demonstrated that HLA-G molecules expression was never found even in a group of patients revealing HLA class I total loss, and that HLA-G is not expressed in breast cancer tissue with a low-tumor grade (G1-G2) and minimal stromal contamination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)969-976
Number of pages8
JournalHuman Immunology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2002


  • Breast cancer
  • HLA class I down-regulation
  • HLA-G
  • MEM-G1
  • RT-PCR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy


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