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International Journal of Breast Cancer
Volume 2013, Article ID 250435, 9 pages
Research Article

Expression of the Classical and Nonclassical HLA Molecules in Breast Cancer

1Department of Clinical Analysis, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, UNESP, SP, Brazil
2Department of Clinical Analysis, Laboratory of Cytology and Cell Biology, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, UNESP, Rua Expedicionários do Brasil 1621, 14801-902 Araraquara, SP, Brazil
3Institute of Surgical Pathology and Cytopathology, Araraquara, SP, Brazil
4Division of Clinical Immunology, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine of Ribeirão Preto, University of São Paulo, SP, Brazil
5Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine of Ribeirão Preto, University of São Paulo (USP), SP, Brazil

Received 28 May 2013; Revised 5 September 2013; Accepted 18 September 2013

Academic Editor: Vladimir F. Semiglazov

Copyright © 2013 Gisela Bevilacqua Rolfsen Ferreira da Silva et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Considering that downregulation of HLA expression could represent a potential mechanism for breast carcinogenesis and metastasis, the aim of the present study was to use immunohistochemical methods to analyze the expression of HLA-Ia, HLA-DR, HLA-DQ, HLA-E, and HLA-G in invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) of the breast and to relate this HLA profile to anatomopathological parameters. Fifty-two IDC from breast biopsies were stratified according to histological differentiation (well, moderately, and poorly differentiated) and to the presence of metastases in axillary lymph nodes. The expression of HLA molecules was assessed by immunohistochemistry, using a computer-assisted system. Overall, 31 (59.6%) out of the 52 IDC breast biopsies exhibited high expression of HLA-G, but only 14 (26.9%) showed high expression of HLA-E. A large number (41, 78.8%) of the biopsies showed low expression of HLA-Ia, while 45 (86.5%) showed high expression of HLA-DQ and 36 (69.2%) underexpressed HLA-DR. Moreover, 24 (41.2%) of 52 biopsies had both low HLA-Ia expression and high HLA-G expression, while 11 (21.2%) had low HLA-Ia expression and high HLA-E expression. These results suggest that, by different mechanisms, the downregulation of HLA-Ia, HLA-E, and HLA-DR and the upregulation of HLA-G and HLA-DQ are associated with immune response evasion and breast cancer aggressiveness.