Cancer Immunology: Immune Escape of Tumors—Expression and Regulation of HLA Class I Molecules and Its Role in Immunotherapies : Advances in Anatomic Pathology

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Cancer Immunology: Immune Escape of Tumors—Expression and Regulation of HLA Class I Molecules and Its Role in Immunotherapies

Wang, Yuan MD*; Jasinski-Bergner, Simon PhD*,§; Wickenhauser, Claudia MD; Seliger, Barbara PhD*,‡,§

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Advances In Anatomic Pathology 30(3):p 148-159, May 2023. | DOI: 10.1097/PAP.0000000000000389

Abstract

The addition of “avoiding immune destruction” to the hallmarks of cancer demonstrated the importance of cancer immunology and in particular the role of immune surveillance and escape from malignancies. However, the underlying mechanisms contributing to immune impairment and immune responses are diverse. Loss or reduced expression of the HLA class I molecules are major characteristics of human cancers resulting in an impaired recognition of tumor cells by CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes. This is of clinical relevance and associated with worse patients outcome and limited efficacy of T-cell-based immunotherapies. Here, we summarize the role of HLA class I antigens in cancers by focusing on the underlying molecular mechanisms responsible for HLA class I defects, which are caused by either structural alterations or deregulation at the transcriptional, posttranscriptional, and posttranslational levels. In addition, the influence of HLA class I abnormalities to adaptive and acquired immunotherapy resistances will be described. The in-depth knowledge of the different strategies of malignancies leading to HLA class I defects can be applied to design more effective cancer immunotherapies.

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