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 journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


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 1 2005


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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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