HLA molecules in basal cell carcinoma of the skin

Immunobiology. 1992 Sep;185(5):440-52. doi: 10.1016/s0171-2985(11)80086-0.


Fifty basal cell carcinomas (BCC) and 8 samples of healthy skin were studied for HLA class I and class II antigen expression and for the presence of mutations in codon 12 of the K-ras and H-ras genes. All samples of healthy skin and of epithelium near the tumor showed high levels of class I molecules, whereas 38% of the tumors showed complete absence. Sixty-two percent of the tumors presented positive class I expression with heterogeneous staining. These losses were due to the simultaneous lack of heavy chain and beta 2-microglobulin. Selective losses of HLA-A or HLA-B antigens were not detected. Class II antigens were absent in most of the tumors, only two tumors showing a few weakly positive cells with anti-HLA-DR mAb. The loss of class I expression correlated significantly with the degree of histological differentiation and aggressiveness. We were unable to correlate class I expression with clinical size, depth of invasion or the extent of leukocytic infiltrate surrounding the tumor. Analysis by PCR amplification of codon 12 of the K-ras and H-ras oncogenes detected H-ras mutations in 1 out of 50 cases, and no K-ras mutations in any of the tumors studied. Thus, a positive relationship between K-ras and H-ras mutations and BCC tumorigenesis or MHC alterations seems unlikely in this neoplasia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Neoplasm / analysis*
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / genetics
  • Base Sequence
  • Carcinoma, Basal Cell / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Basal Cell / immunology*
  • Carcinoma, Basal Cell / pathology
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Gene Amplification
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Genes, ras*
  • HLA Antigens / analysis*
  • HLA Antigens / genetics
  • HLA-DR Antigens / analysis
  • HLA-DR Antigens / genetics
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Skin Neoplasms / genetics
  • Skin Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology


  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • HLA Antigens
  • HLA-DR Antigens