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J Immunother. 1999 Jan;22(1):16-24.

Prolonged upregulation of the expression of HLA class I antigens and costimulatory molecules on melanoma cells treated with 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine (5-AZA-CdR).

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Advanced Immunotherapy Unit, Istituto Nazionale di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico, Aviano, Italy.


The immunogenic potential of melanoma cells and their recognition by the host's cytotoxic cells depends on the presence and on the level of expression of human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I antigens, costimulatory molecules and melanoma-associated antigens (MAA), on neoplastic cells. In this study, we demonstrate that the DNA hypomethylating agent 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine (5-AZA-CdR), significantly (p < 0.05) enhanced the constitutive expression of HLA class I antigens, HLA-A1 and -A2 alleles, and of the costimulatory molecules intercellular adhesion molecule-1 and lymphocyte function-associated antigen-3, on a panel of 12 melanoma cells. This upregulation peaked at day 4, slowly decreased thereafter, and returned to baseline levels 32 days after the end of treatment. In addition, treatment with 5-AZA-CdR induced a persistent expression of MAGE-1 in Mel 275 melanoma cells; this was still detectable, by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, 60 days after the end of treatment. In contrast, 5-AZA-CdR did not affect the constitutive expression of the high molecular weight-MAA by the melanoma cells investigated. These observations, together with data obtained comparing the effect of 5-AZA-CdR with that of interferon-gamma, strongly suggest that 5-AZA-CdR may have prospective therapeutic implications in active and/or passive specific immunotherapy for human melanoma.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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