MHC Class I Deficiency in Solid Tumors and Therapeutic Strategies to Overcome It

Shklovskaya E, Rizos H. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Jun 23;22(13):6741. doi: 10.3390/ijms22136741. PMID: 34201655; PMCID: PMC8268865.


It is now well accepted that the immune system can control cancer growth. However, tumors escape immune-mediated control through multiple mechanisms and the downregulation or loss of major histocompatibility class (MHC)-I molecules is a common immune escape mechanism in many cancers. MHC-I molecules present antigenic peptides to cytotoxic T cells, and MHC-I loss can render tumor cells invisible to the immune system. In this review, we examine the dysregulation of MHC-I expression in cancer, explore the nature of MHC-I-bound antigenic peptides recognized by immune cells, and discuss therapeutic strategies that can be used to overcome MHC-I deficiency in solid tumors, with a focus on the role of natural killer (NK) cells and CD4 T cells.