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Down-regulation of HLA-A and HLA-Bw6, but not HLA-Bw4, allospecificities in leukemic cells: an escape mechanism from CTL and NK attack?

Abstract

Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I antigen defects may have a negative impact on the growing application of T-cell-based immunotherapeutic strategies for treatment of leukemia. Therefore in the present study, taking advantage of a large panel of HLA class I allele-specific human monoclonal antibodies, we have compared HLA class I antigen expression on leukemic cells with that on autologous and allogeneic normal cells. Down-regulation of HLA-A and/or -B allospecificities was present in the majority of the patients studied. However, down-regulation did not affect all HLA class I alleles uniformly, but was almost exclusively restricted to HLA-A allospecificities and to HLA-B allospecificities which belong to the HLA-Bw6 group. The latter allospecificities, at variance from those that belong to the HLA-Bw4 group, do not modulate the interactions of leukemic cells with natural killer (NK) cells. Therefore, our results suggest that the selective down-regulation of HLA-A and HLA-Bw6 allospecificities associated with HLA-Bw4 preservation provides leukemic cells with an escape mechanism not only from cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs), but also from NK cells. As a result T-cell-based immunotherapeutic strategies for leukemia should utilize HLA-Bw4 alloantigens as restricting elements since a selective HLA-Bw4 allele loss would provide leukemic cells with an escape mechanism from CTLs, but would increase their susceptibility to NK cell-mediated lysis.

Authors: Demanet C, Mulder A, Deneys V, Worsham MJ, Maes P, Claas FH, Ferrone S
Journal: Blood, 103:3122-3130
Year: 2004
PubMed: Find in PubMed