MHC class II associated stomach cancer mutations correlate with lack of subsequent tumor development
- John M. Yavorski
- George Blanck
Published online on: September 29, 2017
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The role of tumor cell expression of major histocompatibility class II (MHCII) has been controversial, with evidence indicating that tumor cell expression of MHCII may lead to an anti‑tumor immune response and to tumor cell apoptosis and that MHCII has pro‑tumorigenic functions. The cancer genome atlas (TCGA) indicates numerous deleterious mutations for the highly specific, MHCII transcriptional activation proteins, RFX5, RFXAP, RFXANK and CIITA. Also, mutations in the non‑polymorphic, human leukocyte antigen (HLA)‑DRA gene, which encodes the heavy chain for the most prominent human MHCII molecule, HLA‑DR, are common. For many, if not most TCGA cancer datasets, the MHCII specific mutations do not associate with clinical outcomes. However, stomach carcinoma represents an exception, where the data indicate that MHCII‑specific mutations are associated with a more favorable outcome. These data raise the question of whether stomach cancer mutations represent effective haploinsufficiency or whether mutations that are associated with a favorable outcome occur with other stomach cancer molecular features that limit the function of the two alleles that represent these MHCII‑related proteins.