Interferon-mediated in vivo induction of β2-microglobulin on small-cell lung cancers and mid-gut carcinoids

Keiko Funa, Adi F. Gazdar, Karin Mattson, Aili Niiranen, Ari Koivuniemi, Kjell Öberg, Erik Wilander, Austin Doyle, R. Ilona Linnoila

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Selected neuroendocrine tumors, such as small cell lung cancer (SCLC), and neuroblastoma express markedly diminished class I major histocompatibility complex (MHC) antigens (HLA framework and β2-microglobulin, β2m). Another neuroendocrine tumor, mid-gut carcinoid, also expresses reduced β2m antigen as demonstrated herein. Antigen expression is greatly enhanced on SCLC cell lines by in vitro exposure to interferon (IFN). To determine whether IFN mediates similar effects in vivo, we examined by immunoperoxidase staining β2m expression in paraffin-embedded tumor tissue sections obtained from 4 SCLC and 7 mid-gut carcinoid patients before and after receiving partially purified human leukocyte IFN-α therapy. Before IFN treatment, 3 4 SCLC tumors and 5 7 mid-gut carcinoids did not express β2m. By contrast, all tumors showed considerable expression of β2m after IFN therapy. Induction of class I antigens on tumor cells deficient in such expression may be one mechanism by which IFN exerts antitumor effects. We believe this is the first report of in vivo induction of class I MHC antigens in epithelial tumor cells in humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-164
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Immunology and Immunopathology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Immunology


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