Is there a protective involvement of HLA-B35 in the development of pancreatic cancer and its pulmonary metastases?

Authors I.A. Kouerinis, G. Zografos, K.E. Tarassi, TH. Athanasiades, C.I. Fotiades, C.A. Papasteriades,G. Androulakis.


PURPOSE: Similar to findings obtained for most carcinomas,
the pathogenesis of pancreatic cancer (PC) is considered to be
multifactorial. Nowadays, there is a research into the
contribution of genetic factors to the pathogenesis of cancer,
including pancreatic. The present study was undertaken to
investigate the protective role of human leukocyte antigens
in a group of patients with pancreatic cancer, and also to
correlate the findings with the development of metastatic
disease in the lungs. Additionally, we searched for the
protective role of HLA-B35, recognised worldwide in
relation to several types of cancer.
SUBJECTS AND METHODS: The allele frequencies of
serologically defined human leukocyte antigen classes II
and I were studied in 60 patients with a recent, histologically
confirmed diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. All individuals
in this study were unrelated to each other. Patients were
also classified with regard to alcohol consumption, to the
presence of non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus and
the presence of pulmonary metastatic disease. The results
obtained for leukocyte frequencies were compared with
those of 105 healthy control subjects (control group).
Additionally, HLA frequencies of PC patients with sole
pulmonary metastatic disease (7 subjects) were compared
with those of the other patients (53 subjects). RESULTS: Among several HLA antigens that were
identified in lower frequencies in PC patients compared
with healthy individuals, HLA-B35 seemed to be the most
likely to play a protective role, although statistically
significant differences were marginal (21,7% in healthy
individuals vs 36,8% in patients, P=0,056, OR=0,488).
Furthermore, HLA involvement in the development of
pulmonary metastatic disease in PC patients was not
CONCLUSION: Although recent observation of specific
human leukocyte antigen associations with particular
subsets of pancreatic cancer strongly suggested that genetic
susceptibility for the development of pancreatic cancer
exists, their protective role to the pathogenesis of the disease
needs further investigation. On the other hand, no
involvement of HLA system in the pulmonary metastatic
development was finally identified. In conclusion, the
multifactorial pathogenesis of pancreatic cancer must
always be considered and human leukocyte antigens may
show useful predictive and diagnostic value in the near
Key words: HLA, pulmonary metastases, pancreatic
cancer, genetic markers.
Original Articles