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The role of major histocompatibility complex expression in cancer prognosis and pathogenesis is contradictory. The aim of the current study was to compare the expression of HLA class I molecules and of oncoproteins that may be sources of peptides presented by HLA class I antigens in non-small-cell lung cancer. For this purpose, the expression of HLA class I antigen and TAP-1 molecule (a transporter in the antigen-processing 1 transport protein) were studied with epidermal growth factor, receptor; c-erbB-2; episialin; wild-type and mutant p53; bcl-2 oncoprotein expression; and angiogenic factor expression (vascular endothelial growth factor and thymidine phosphorylase). The degree of lymphocytic stromal infiltration and of platelet-endothelial cell adhesion molecule-expressing lymphocytes was also studied. A strong association of c-erbB-2 and MUC1 (episialin) expression with HLA class I expression was observed (p = 0.005 and 0.009, respectively). Intense CD31-positive lymphocytic infiltration was also more frequent in HLA class I-positive cases (p = 0.05). Although there was no association of HLA class I expression with survival, loss of the HLA class I expression in MUC1 or c-erbB-2 overexpressing cases conferred a poorer clinical outcome (p = 0.04). Both c-erbB-2 and MUC1 are well-known targets of T-cell-mediated cytotoxicity and cell-cell or cell-matrix adhesion-regulating proteins. The authors provide evidence that the sequence of cell adhesion-disrupting oncoprotein expression, HLA class I induction, and enhanced epitope presentation followed by lymphocytic response is an important pathogenetic three-step sequence of events that define, in part, the clinical outcome in non-small-cell lung cancer.


Journal article


J Immunother

Publication Date





104 - 114


Aged, Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung, Female, Histocompatibility Antigens Class I, Humans, Lung Neoplasms, Male, Middle Aged, Mucin-1, Peptide Fragments, Receptor, ErbB-2, Retrospective Studies, Survivors