Purpose: To determine the frequency of abnormalities in human leukocyte antigen (HLA) and antigen processing machinery (APM) component expression in malignant brain tumors. This information may contribute to our understanding of the immune escape mechanisms used by malignant brain tumors because HLA antigens mediate interactions of tumor cells with the host's immune system. Experimental Design: Eighty-eight surgically removed malignant astrocytic tumors, classified according to the WHO criteria, were stained in immunoperoxidase reactions with monoclonal antibody recognizing monomorphic, locus-specific, and allospecific determinants of HLA class I antigens, β 2-microglobulin, APM components (LMP2, LMP7, TAP1, TAP2, calnexin, calreticulin, and tapasin), and HLA class II antigens. Results: HLA class I antigens were lost in ∼50% of the 47 glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) lesions and in ∼20% of the 18 grade 2 astrocytoma lesions stained. Selective HLA-A2 antigen loss was observed in ∼80% of the 24 GBM lesions and in ∼50% of the 12 grade 2 astrocytoma lesions stained. HLA class I antigen loss was significantly (P <0.025) correlated with tumor grade. Among the APM components investigated, tapasin expression was down-regulated in ∼20% of the GBM lesions analyzed; it was associated, although not significantly, with HLA class I antigen down-regulation and tumor grade. HLA class II antigen expression was detected in ∼30% of the 44 lesions analyzed. Conclusion: The presence of HLA antigen defects in malignant brain tumors may provide an explanation for the relatively poor clinical response rates observed in the majority of the T cell-based immunotherapy clinical trials conducted to date in patients with malignant brain tumors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research