Heterogeneity of the expression of class I and II HLA antigens in human breast carcinoma

J Immunogenet. Apr-Jun 1986;13(2-3):247-53. doi: 10.1111/j.1744-313x.1986.tb01108.x.


HLA class I and II antigen expression was studied in 19 cases of primary infiltrating ductal carcinoma of the breast. An indirect immunofluorescence technique was used on cryostat sections with monoclonal antibodies directed against HLA class I and II monomorphic determinants. Of the 19 cases studied, 17 were positive for class I antigen expression and two were negative. Class I HLA antigen expression was found to be clearly heterogeneous: in ten of these tumours more than 75% of the cells were class I positive; in two the percentage was decreased to between 50% and 75%; in five tumours it was less than 50%. With respect to class II HLA antigen expression, eight breast tumours were totally negative while two were strongly positive (50-75%) and the nine remaining cases were less than 25% positive. In addition, radioassay techniques were employed to determine the presence of oestrogen and progestagen receptors. The distribution of these receptors was not correlated with HLA class I or II antigen expression, nor could any relationship be demonstrated between the degree of histological differentiation of the tumours and their invasiveness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Intraductal, Noninfiltrating / immunology*
  • Female
  • HLA Antigens*
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class II*
  • Humans
  • Receptors, Estrogen / metabolism
  • Receptors, Progesterone / metabolism


  • HLA Antigens
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class II
  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Receptors, Progesterone