Recent advances in cancer immunotherapy have clearly shown that checkpoint-based immunotherapy is effective in a small subgroup of cancer patients. However, no effective predictive biomarker has been identified so far. The major histocompatibility complex, better known in humans as human leukocyte antigen (HLA), is a very polymorphic gene complex consisting of more than 200 genes. It has a crucial role in activating an appropriate host immune response against pathogens and tumor cells by discriminating self and non-self peptides. Several lines of evidence have shown that down-regulation of expression of HLA class I antigen derived peptide complexes by cancer cells is a mechanism of tumor immune escape and is often associated to poor prognosis in cancer patients. In addition, it has also been shown that HLA class I and II antigen expression, as well as defects in the antigen processing machinery complex, may predict tumor responses in cancer immunotherapy. Nevertheless, the role of HLA in predicting tumor responses to checkpoint-based immunotherapy is still debated. In this review, firstly, we will describe the structure and function of the HLA system. Secondly, we will summarize the HLA defects and their clinical significance in cancer patients. Thirdly, we will review the potential role of the HLA as a predictive biomarker for checkpoint-based immunotherapy in cancer patients. Lastly, we will discuss the potential strategies that may restore HLA function to implement novel therapeutic strategies in cancer patients.

Role of Human Leukocyte Antigen System as A Predictive Biomarker for Checkpoint-Based Immunotherapy in Cancer Patients

Francesco Sabbatino;Giovanna Polcaro;Ilaria Salvato;Francesco A. Salzano;Vincenzo Casolaro;Cristiana Stellato;Jessica Dal Col
;
Stefano Pepe
2020-01-01

Abstract

Recent advances in cancer immunotherapy have clearly shown that checkpoint-based immunotherapy is effective in a small subgroup of cancer patients. However, no effective predictive biomarker has been identified so far. The major histocompatibility complex, better known in humans as human leukocyte antigen (HLA), is a very polymorphic gene complex consisting of more than 200 genes. It has a crucial role in activating an appropriate host immune response against pathogens and tumor cells by discriminating self and non-self peptides. Several lines of evidence have shown that down-regulation of expression of HLA class I antigen derived peptide complexes by cancer cells is a mechanism of tumor immune escape and is often associated to poor prognosis in cancer patients. In addition, it has also been shown that HLA class I and II antigen expression, as well as defects in the antigen processing machinery complex, may predict tumor responses in cancer immunotherapy. Nevertheless, the role of HLA in predicting tumor responses to checkpoint-based immunotherapy is still debated. In this review, firstly, we will describe the structure and function of the HLA system. Secondly, we will summarize the HLA defects and their clinical significance in cancer patients. Thirdly, we will review the potential role of the HLA as a predictive biomarker for checkpoint-based immunotherapy in cancer patients. Lastly, we will discuss the potential strategies that may restore HLA function to implement novel therapeutic strategies in cancer patients.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11386/4750989
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