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Presentation of endogenous antigenic peptides to cytotoxic T lymphocytes is mediated by the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I molecules. For the stable assembly of MHC class I complex it is necessary that the antigenic peptide is transported by the MHC-encoded transporters TAP-1 and TAP-2 into a pre-Golgi region. T-cell-mediated host-vs-tumour response might therefore depend on the presence of these molecules on tumour cells. The presence of MHC class I antigens and TAP-1 was studied in a series of 93 resection specimens of non-small-cell lung carcinomas (NSCLCs) by immunohistochemical methods using antibodies against the assembled class I molecule, beta 2-microglobulin (beta 2-m), heavy-chain A locus, A2 allele and TAP-1 protein. Eighty-six patients were included in the survival analysis. Total loss of class I molecule was observed in 38% of the cases and was usually accompanied by loss of beta 2-m and of heavy chain A locus. Selective loss of A locus was seen in 8.3% and of A2 allele in 27% of the cases. TAP-1 loss was always combined with beta 2-m and/or heavy chain A locus loss. No correlation was found between the expressional status of any of the above molecules, including the selective A2 allelic loss and histological type, degree of differentiation, tumoral stage, nodal stage and survival. Our findings suggest that loss of antigen-presenting molecules (including both MHC class I alleles and TAP-1) is a frequent event in lung cancer. However, the immunophenotypic profile of MHC class I and TAP-1 seems to be unrelated in vivo to the phenotype, growth or survival of NSCLC.


Journal article


Br J Cancer

Publication Date





148 - 153


ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 2, ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters, Actuarial Analysis, Adenocarcinoma, Adult, Aged, Analysis of Variance, Antibodies, Monoclonal, Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung, Carcinoma, Squamous Cell, Down-Regulation, Female, Gene Deletion, Genes, MHC Class I, HLA-A2 Antigen, Histocompatibility Antigens Class I, Humans, Immunohistochemistry, Lung Neoplasms, Male, Middle Aged, Survival Analysis, Tumor Escape, beta 2-Microglobulin