With the goal of establishing efficacious peptide-based immunotherapy for patients with bone and soft tissue sarcomas, we previously identified the cytotoxic T lymphocyte-defined osteosarcoma antigenic gene Papillomavirus binding factor. The present study was designed to determine the status of HLA class I expression in osteosarcoma and other bone and soft tissue sarcomas. Seventy-four formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded specimens of various bone and soft tissue sarcomas, including 33 osteosarcomas, were stained with the anti-HLA class I monoclonal antibody EMR8-5, which we recently generated. The expression of HLA class I was lost or downregulated in 46 of these specimens (62%). With respect to osteosarcoma, loss or downregulation of HLA class I expression was seen in 13 (52%) of 25 primary tumors and seven (88%) of eight metastatic tumors. In six of 11 HLA class I-negative osteosarcoma specimens, the expression of beta-2 microglobulin was also lost. Subsequently the prognostic significance of HLA class I expression was analyzed in 21 patients with osteosarcoma who had completed multidrug neoadjuvant chemotherapy and undergone adequate surgery. Patients with osteosarcoma highly expressing HLA class I showed significantly better overall and event-free survival than those with HLA class I-negative osteosarcoma. In contrast, such prognostic significance of HLA class I expression was not found in 15 patients with malignant fibrous histiocytoma of soft tissue. These findings suggest that the class I-restricted cytotoxic T lymphocyte pathway plays a major role in immune surveillance of patients with osteosarcoma.