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Ocul Immunol Inflamm. 2006 Aug;14(4):207-13.

Retinoblastoma: expression of HLA-G.

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  • 1Department of Ocular Pathology, Vision Research Foundation, Sankara Nethralaya, Chennai, India.



Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) mediates interactions of tumor cells with cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) and natural killer (NK) cells. Retinoblastoma (RB) is the most common intraocular malignant tumor in childhood and is characterized by direct spread to the optic nerve and orbit as well as hematogenous and lymphatic spread. Earlier, we observed that invasive RB showed reduced HLA, which could contribute to its escape from the immune system. Little is known about the role of the nonclassical HLA molecule, HLA-G, in RB and its role in tumor escape mechanisms in RB.


Forty archival paraffin-embedded RB tumors were analyzed for the expression of HLA-G by immunohistochemistry using a monoclonal antibody; fresh tumor samples were also subjected to Western blot analysis. There were 22 tumors with no invasion and 18 with invasion of the choroid/optic nerve. Immunoanalysis was performed based on the International Histocompatibility Working Group Project Description.


HLA-G was negative in the non-neoplastic retina, reduced in 22/22 tumors with no invasion, and positive in 15/18 with invasion. The immunohistochemistry results were confirmed by Western blot analysis. The difference in expression between the two groups was significant ( p < 0.001). There was no correlation of HLA-G expression with differentiation of the tumors.


Increased expression of HLA-G was observed in invasive RB. This preliminary observation deserves further investigation and may shed more light on the immune escape mechanisms of this tumor and thus enable novel therapeutic strategies.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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