Upregulation of B7-H1 expression is associated with macrophage infiltration in hepatocellular carcinomas
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The overexpression of B7-H1 in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) mediates HCC immune escape and obstructs the immunotherapy based on tumor-specific CD8+ T cells. Tumor-associated macrophages (TAM) are a major component of cancer-related inflammation and play a central role in tumor promotion. To classify the mechanism underlying the overexpression of B7-H1 in HCC, we examined B7-H1 expression and TAM infiltration in 63 cases of human HCC samples using immunohistochemistry method and found that B7-H1 overexpression was associated with TAM infiltration in HCC tissues. Furthermore, B7-H1 expression was upregulated at both mRNA level and protein level in HCC cells (BEL-7402 and SMMC-7721) cocultured with macrophages in a transwell system. The upregulation of B7-H1 expression induced by macrophage was inhibited by blocking NF-κB or STAT3 signal pathways. These results suggest that overexpression of B7-H1 in HCC may be induced by inflammatory microenvironment involving macrophages and imply that anti-inflammation therapy might be preventive for immune escape and assistant for immunotherapy of HCC.