, Volume 56, Issue 5, pp 709-717
Date: 08 Sep 2006

HLA class I expression in metastatic melanoma correlates with tumor development during autologous vaccination

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Our knowledge of the mechanisms underlying tumor-specific immune response and tumor escape has considerably increased. HLA class I antigen defects remain an important tumor escape mechanism since they influence the interactions between tumor cells and specific T and NK cells in the course of malignant disease. We have studied here HLA class I expression in six subcutaneous metastases obtained from a melanoma patient immunized with an autologous melanoma cell vaccine (M-VAX). We report in this paper that HLA class I antigen expression on these metastatic lesions strongly correlated with the course of the disease. The three metastases that were partially regressing at the time of their excision showed a strong HLA class I expression, whereas the progressing ones showed a very weak or negative staining with most of the anti-HLA class I mAbs used. Real-time quantitative PCR of the samples obtained from microdissected tumor tissue revealed a significant difference in the mRNA levels of HLA-ABC heavy chain and β2m between the two types of metastases, i.e., lower levels in progressing metastases and high levels in regressing ones, confirming the immunohistological findings. This is, to our knowledge, the first report where the clinical outcome of different HLA class I positive and negative melanoma metastases can be clearly correlated with the regression and progression of the disease, respectively.