HLA-G expression in effusions is a possible marker of tumor susceptibility to chemotherapy in ovarian carcinoma

Ben Davidson, Mari Bukholt Elstrand, Michael T. McMaster, Aasmund Berner, Robert J Kurman, Björn Risberg, Claes G. Trope, Ie Ming Shih

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


We recently showed that the levels of secreted human leukocyte antigen-G (HLA-G), a nonclassical MHC class I antigen, are significantly elevated in malignant effusions in ovarian carcinoma compared to benign ones. The objective of this study was to evaluate the expression and clinical role of HLA-G in effusions and corresponding solid tumors from patients diagnosed with advanced-stage ovarian carcinoma. Effusions (=148), corresponding primary tumors (=66), and metastatic lesions (=122) were analyzed using immunohistochemistry with an anti-HLA-G monoclonal antibody. HLA-G was detected in cancer cells in 49/148 (33%) effusions, 33/66 (50%) primary tumors, and 59/122 (48%) solid metastases. These differences did not reach statistical significance. Expression in effusions and solid metastases significantly correlated (P = 0.029). HLA-G expression in tumor cells was significantly lower in effusions obtained during or following chemotherapy (P = 0.038). The presence of HLA-G-positive tumor cells in effusions obtained prior to the institution of chemotherapy correlated with better overall survival (P = 0.042). HLA-G expression in primary tumors and solid metastases did not correlate with any of the clinicopathologic parameters studied. HLA-G is expressed in a significant number of ovarian carcinomas at all anatomic sites. The reduced expression of HLA-G in post-chemotherapy effusions and its correlation with improved survival may be related to preferential susceptibility of HLA-G-expressing cells at this site. Our findings suggest a new role for HLA-G as a prognostic indicator in advanced-stage ovarian cancer in effusions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)42-47
Number of pages6
JournalGynecologic Oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2005



  • Chemotherapy
  • Effusions
  • Immune response
  • Ovarian carcinoma
  • Survival

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Oncology

Cite this