HLA expression in human hepatocellular carcinoma

A. C. Paterson, R. Sciot, M. C. Kew, F. Callea, G. M. Dusheiko, V. J. Desmet

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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 β2-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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-373
Number of pages5
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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