HLA-G is a potential tumor marker in malignant ascites

Gad Singer, Vera Rebmann, Yu Chi Chen, Hsu Tai Liu, Syed Z. Ali, Jochen Reinsberg, Michael T. McMaster, Kerstin Pfeiffer, Daniel W. Chan, Eva Wardelmann, Hans Grosse-Wilde, Chih Chien Cheng, Robert J. Kurman, Ie Ming Shih

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

154 Scopus citations


Purpose: Molecular approaches as supplements to cytological examination of malignant ascites may play an important role in the clinical management of cancer patients. HLA-G is a potential tumor-associated marker and that one of its isoforms, HLA-G5, produces a secretory protein. This study is to assess the clinical utility of secreted HLA-G levels in differential diagnosis of malignant ascites. Experimental Design: We used ELISA to assess whether secretory HLA-G (sHLA-G) could serve as a marker of malignant ascites in ovarian and breast carcinomas, which represent the most common malignant tumors causing ascites in women. Results: On the basis of immunohistochemistry, 45 (61%) of 74 ovarian serous carcinomas and 22 (25%) invasive ductal carcinomas of the breast demonstrated HLA-G immunoreactivity ranging from 2 to 100% of the tumor cells. HLA-G staining was not detected in a wide variety of normal tissues, including ovarian surface epithelium and normal breast tissue. Revese transcription-PCR demonstrated the presence of HLA-G5 isoform in all of the tumor samples expressing HLA-G. ELISA was performed to measure the sHLA-G in 42 malignant and 18 benign ascites supernatants. sHLA-G levels were significantly higher in malignant ascites than in benign controls (P < 0.001). We found that the area under the receiver-operating characteristic curve for sHLA-G was 0.95 for malignant versus benign ascites specimens. At 100% specificity, the highest sensitivity to detect malignant ascites was 78% (95% confidence interval, 68-88%) at a cutoff of 13 ng/ml. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that measurement of sHLA-G is a useful molecular adjunct to cytology in the differential diagnosis of malignant versus benign ascites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4460-4464
Number of pages5
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - Oct 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'HLA-G is a potential tumor marker in malignant ascites'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this