Purpose: We evaluated the impact of the killer immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIR) of natural killer (NK) cells and of their HLA ligands over the clinical outcome of hepatitis C virus (HCV)-related hepatocellular carcinoma after curative treatment by either surgical resection or radiofrequency thermal ablation (RTA). Experimental Design: Sixty-one consecutive patients with HCV-related hepatocellular carcinoma underwent KIR genotyping and HLA typing. A phenotypic/functional characterization of NK cells was carried out in patients with different KIR/KIR-ligand genotype. Results: Activating KIR2DS5 was associated with significantly longer time to recurrence (TTR) and overall survival (OS; P < 0.03 each). Homozygous HLA-C1 (P < 0.02) and HLA-Bw4I80 (P < 0.05) were expressed by patients with significantly better OS, whereas HLA-C2 (P < 0.02) and HLA-Bw4T80 (P < 0.01) were associated with a worse OS. Multivariate analysis identified as parameters independently related to TTR the type of treatment (surgical resection vs. RTA; P < 0.03) and HLA-C1 (P < 0.03), whereas only KIR2DS5 was an independent predictor of longer OS (P < 0.05). Compound KIR2DL2-C1 and KIR3DS1-Bw4T80 genotypes were associated with better TTR (P < 0.03) and worse OS (P = 0.02), respectively. A prevalent cytotoxic (CD56dim) NK phenotype was detected in patients with both longer TTR and OS. Cytotoxic capacity measured by upregulation of CD107a was significantly higher in subjects with HLA-C1 alone or combined with KIR2DL2/KIR2DL3. Conclusions: These results support a central role of NK cells in the immune response against hepatocellular carcinoma, providing a strong rationale for therapeutic strategies enhancing NK response and for individualized posttreatment monitoring schemes. © 2013 American Association for Cancer Research.
HLA and killer immunoglobulin-like receptor genes as outcome predictors of hepatitis C virus-related hepatocellular carcinoma / Cariani, Elisabetta; Pilli, Massimo; Zerbini, Alessandro; Rota, Cristina; Olivani, Andrea; Zanelli, Paola; Zanetti, Adele; Trenti, Tommaso; Ferrari, Carlo; Missale, Gabriele. - In: CLINICAL CANCER RESEARCH. - ISSN 1078-0432. - 19:19(2013), pp. 5465-5473. [10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-13-0986]
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