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Cancer Biother Radiopharm. 2011 Apr;26(2):153-7. doi: 10.1089/cbr.2010.0924. Epub 2011 Apr 21.

Human leukocyte antigen G expression in breast cancer: role in immunosuppression.

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Elliott-Elliott-Head Breast Cancer Research and Treatment Center, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70816, USA.


Human leukocyte antigen G (HLA-G) is an immunotolerant nonclassical major histocompatibility complex Class Ib molecule. It is expressed by trophoblastic placental cells during pregnancy to protect the fetus from maternal alloreactivity. HLA-G is overexpressed in tumors and involved in cancer immune evasion. Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and immunohistochemistry (IHC) were used to examine HLA-G expression in normal mammary and breast cancer cell lines and normal and human breast cancer tissues. Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction confirmed that normal epithelial MCF-12A cells had no HLA-G mRNA expression, whereas cancer cell lines MCF-7, T47D, and MDA-MB-231 and NCI/Adr-Res had various levels of HLA-G mRNA expression. Twelve (12) normal and 38 breast cancer tissues were examined by IHC. Fifty-eight (58) percent (22/38) of cancers had medium to strong staining to HLA-G, whereas only 8% (1/12) of normal breast tissues had medium to strong staining, and the difference was significant (p < 0.05). HLA-G staining was found in the membranes and cytoplasm of cancer cells. In conclusion, breast cancer cells overexpress HLA-G mRNA and protein, and this probably contributes to immune evasion.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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