Decreased expression of B7 costimulatory molecules and major histocompatibility complex class-I in human hepatocellular carcinoma

Keishi Fujiwara, Toshihiro Higashi, Kazuhiro Nouso, Harushige Nakatsukasa, Yoshiyuki Kobayashi, Masayuki Uemura, Shinichiro Nakamura, Shuichiro Sato, Tadashi Hanafusa, Yasuhiro Yumoto, Ichiro Naito, Yasushi Shiratori

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45 Citations (Scopus)


Background and Aim: We analyzed the expression of antigen-processing and antigen-presenting molecules in surgically resected fresh samples of human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) tissue to elucidate a mechanism of immune escape. We also examined the expression of interleukin (IL)-10 protein, which might act to downregulate expression of antigen-processing and antigen-presenting molecules. Methods: Twenty-eight HCC samples obtained by surgical resection were analyzed for the expression of β2-microglobulin, heat-shock protein (HSP)-70, human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class-I, CD80 (B7-1), CD86 (B7-2) and IL-10 by immunostaining. Results: β2-Microglobulin and HSP-70 were preserved in all samples. In contrast, the expression of HLA class-I molecules was significantly reduced according to lowering in the histological grading of tumor differentiation (P = 0.024). Furthermore, B7-1 and B7-2 expression was reduced in tumor cells compared with corresponding areas of liver tissue without malignant involvement irrespective of the histological grading of tumors (21% and 36%, respectively). Although IL-10 protein was expressed in 54% of HCC, no relationship between the expression of IL-10 and downregulation of B7-1, B7-2, and HLA class-I was evident. Conclusion: These findings suggest the potential role of B7 co-stimulatory molecules and HLA class-I molecules in facilitating HCC escape from immune surveillance without the involvement of IL-10.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1121-1127
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology (Australia)
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2004


  • Immune tolerance
  • Liver
  • Neoplasm
  • Tumor escape

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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