Immune selective pressure and HLA class I antigen defects in malignant lesions

Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2007 Feb;56(2):227-36. doi: 10.1007/s00262-006-0183-1. Epub 2006 Jun 17.


The revived cancer immune surveillance theory has emphasized the active role the immune system plays in eliminating tumor cells and in facilitating the emergence of their immunoresistant variants. MHC class I molecule abnormalities represent, at least in part, the molecular phenotype of these escape variants, given the crucial role of MHC class I molecules in eliciting tumor antigen-specific T cell responses, the high frequency of HLA class I antigen abnormalities in malignant lesions and their association with a poor clinical course of the disease. Here, we present evidence for this possibility and review the potential mechanisms by which T cell selective pressure participates in the generation of tumor cells with MHC class I molecule defects. Furthermore, we discuss the strategies to counteract tumor cell immune evasion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • HLA Antigens / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Surveillance*
  • Models, Immunological*
  • Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Tumor Escape*


  • HLA Antigens