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Journal of Immunology Research
Volume 2014, Article ID 359748, 10 pages
Review Article

The Dual Role of HLA-G in Cancer

1CEA, Institut des Maladies Emergentes et des Therapies Innovantes (IMETI), Service de Recherche en Hemato-Immunologie (SRHI), Hopital Saint-Louis, 75010 Paris, France
2Université Paris Diderot, Sorbonne Paris Cité, IUH, Hopital Saint-Louis, UMR_E5, 75010 Paris, France

Received 7 January 2014; Accepted 25 February 2014; Published 31 March 2014

Academic Editor: Fabio Morandi

Copyright © 2014 Nathalie Rouas-Freiss 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.


We here review the current data on the role of HLA-G in cancer based on recent findings of an unexpected antitumor activity of HLA-G in hematological malignancies. For the past decade, HLA-G has been described as a tumor-escape mechanism favoring cancer progression, and blocking strategies have been proposed to counteract it. Aside from these numerous studies on solid tumors, recent data showed that HLA-G inhibits the proliferation of malignant B cells due to the interaction between HLA-G and its receptor ILT2, which mediates negative signaling on B cell proliferation. These results led to the conjecture that, according to the malignant cell type, HLA-G should be blocked or conversely induced to counteract tumor progression. In this context, we will here present (i) the dual role of HLA-G in solid and liquid tumors with special emphasis on (ii) the HLA-G active structures and their related ILT2 and ILT4 receptors and (iii) the current knowledge on regulatory mechanisms of HLA-G expression in tumors.