Associations between genes for killer immunoglobulin-like receptors and their ligands in patients with solid tumors

Hum Immunol. 2010 Oct;71(10):976-81. doi: 10.1016/j.humimm.2010.06.019. Epub 2010 Jun 30.


Killer immunoglobulin-like receptor (KIR) and human leukocyte antigen (HLA) genotypes were analyzed from panels of lung (non-small-cell lung cancer [NSCLC] and small-cell lung cancer [SCLC]), colon, and kidney cancer patients and compared with normal control subjects. No significant differences were noted between KIR gene frequencies in patients compared with normal subjects. When combinations of KIR genes and their HLA ligands were considered, there were significant decreases in frequencies of both KIR2DL2 and KIR2DL3 in homozygotes for their ligand HLA-C1, and an increase in the frequency of KIR3DL1 and its ligand HLA-Bw4 in kidney cancer patients compared with controls. Both associations were partly attributable to changes in ligand frequencies alone. NSCLC patients showed a significant increase in the frequency of KIR2DL1 and its ligand HLA-C2 and a corresponding decrease in frequency of KIR2DL3 and its ligand HLA-C1 in homozygotes. In NSCLC, the Ile80 form of HLA-Bw4 was decreased in KIR3DL1+ HLA-Bw4+ patients, whereas in SCLC the Ile80 form was increased and the Thr80 form decreased in KIR3DS1+ HLA-Bw4+ patients. These findings are consistent with increased co-expression of high-affinity inhibitory KIRs and their ligands, potentially resulting in decreased natural killer cell function, and hence with natural killer cells having a protective role in lung and kidney cancer but not colon cancer.

MeSH terms

  • Gene Frequency
  • Genetic Association Studies
  • HLA-C Antigens / genetics*
  • HLA-C Antigens / immunology
  • Haplotypes
  • Histocompatibility Testing
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Receptors, KIR2DL2 / genetics*
  • Receptors, KIR2DL2 / immunology
  • Receptors, KIR2DL3 / genetics*
  • Receptors, KIR2DL3 / immunology
  • United Kingdom


  • HLA-C Antigens
  • KIR2DL3 protein, human
  • Receptors, KIR2DL2
  • Receptors, KIR2DL3