Liver Cancer
Copyright ©The Author(s) 2002. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Gastroenterol. Aug 15, 2002; 8(4): 654-657
Published online Aug 15, 2002. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v8.i4.654
HLA class I expression in primary hepatocellular carcinoma
Jian Huang, Mei-Ying Cai, Da-Peng Wei
Jian Huang, Mei-Ying Cai, Da-Peng Wei, Immunology Department, West China University of Medical Sciences, Chengdu 610044, Sichuan Province, China
Author contributions: All authors contributed equally to the work.
Supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.30070855
Correspondence to: Jian Huang, Bioinfo Tech Incorporated Company, 10F Zhuangsen No.8 Dongsheng Street, Chengdu 610015, Sichuan Province, China.
Telephone: +86-28-6260468-243 Fax: +86-28-6698350
Received: June 3, 2001
Revised: February 12, 2002
Accepted: February 16, 2002
Published online: August 15, 2002

AIM: To investigate whether CTL vaccine therapy is suitable for primary hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) from the viewpoint of HLA class I antigens expression.

METHODS: The immunocytochemistry, image analysis, flow cytometry, and labeled streptavidin biotin (LSAB) method of immunohistochemistry were applied respectively to study 4 HCC cell lines (e.g. Alexander, HepG2, SMMC-7721, and QGY-7703) cultured in vitro and 6 frozen tissue specimens of HCC.

RESULTS: The positive control cell line Raji had very strong positive staining. Most mitotic and nonmitotic cells of the 4 HCC cell lines had various intensity of HLA class I antigens expression. The negative control cell K562 and the control slides of all the cell lines had no positive staining. In the 6 HCC specimens immunohistochemically studied, histological normal hepatocytes had no or very weak positive staining and the liver sinus had very strong positive staining. Most HCC cells in the sections from the 6 HCC specimens had strong positive HLA class I antigens staining. The positive staining was located in the cytoplasm, the perinuclear area, and at the cell membrane of the liver cancer cells. Flow cytometry also revealed that Raji and those 4 HCC cell lines had strong HLA class I antigens expression, which was confirmed quantitatively by the image analysis. It showed that the objective grayscale values of Raji and those 4 HCC cell lines were significantly different from that of K562 (Raji 114.04 ± 10.94, Alexander 165.97 ± 5.35, HepG2167.02 ± 12.60, QGY-7703161.46 ± 7.13, SMMC-7721165.93 ± 5.21, K562244.89 ± 4.60, P < 0.01). Significant differences were also found between Raji and the 4 HCC cell lines.

CONCLUSION: HCC cells express HLA class I antigens strongly. From this point of view, the active specific immunotherapy of CTL vaccine is suitable and practicable for HCC.

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