Mycosis fungoides: HLA class II associations among Ashkenazi and non-Ashkenazi Jewish patients

Emmilia Hodak, M. Lapidoth, Y. Kohn, M. David, C. Brautbar, B. Kfir, R. Narinski, C. Safirman, L. Maron, T. Klein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: An immunogenetic mechanism has been suggested to play a role in the pathogenesis of mycosis fungoides (MF). While results of studies on HLA class I associations have proved inconsistent, two previous studies showed that certain HLA class II alleles were significantly increased among North American caucasian patients with MF: HLA-DRB1*11 and DQB1*03. Objectives: To investigate the possible HLA class I and class II associations with MF among Jewish patients. Methods: The patient group comprised 68 Jewish patients with MF: 38 Ashkenazi and 30 non-Ashkenazi. The control group comprised 252 healthy Jewish volunteers: 132 Ashkenazi and 120 non-Ashkenazi. Tissue typing for HLA class I (A and B) was performed using the National Institutes of Health microlymphocytotoxicity technique. DNA-based low-medium resolution analysis for DRB1* and DQB1* alleles was performed using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification with sequence-specific primers. For those alleles found to have significantly increased frequency, high-resolution analysis was done by means of PCR sequence-specific oligotyping. Results: The allele frequency of HLA-DRB1*11 was found to be significantly increased but only among Ashkenazi patients with MF (30% vs. 19% in the controls; P = 0.034). High-resolution analysis for DRB1*11, not previously performed, suggested that its greater frequency is due to the increased number of Ashkenazi MF patients with the DRB1*1104 allele (P corrected = 0.036). Analysed together, DQB1*03 alleles (DQB1*0301-0304) had a significantly greater frequency in MF as a group as compared with controls (47% vs. 33%, P = 0.003). DQB1*0301 was demonstrated to be the specific allele associated with MF in Jewish patients (allele frequency of 36% vs. 23% in controls; P corrected = 0.0068), which was not the case for North American caucasian patients with MF. No greater frequencies of any of the HLA class I A or B antigens were found. Conclusions: Our findings further demonstrate the 'universality' of MF HLA class II susceptibility alleles, i.e. HLA-DRB1*11 and HLA-DQB1*03, suggesting that HLA polymorphism is likely to be important in the pathogenesis of MF in Jewish patients, as it is in North American caucasian patients. Not previously reported is our finding that HLA-DRB1*1104 is the specific allele more prevalent among patients with MF. Our study also underscores some differences in HLA profiles between non-Jewish and Jewish patients with MF and between Ashkenazi and non-Ashkenazi Jewish patients, indicating the possibility of diverse HLA disease associations in populations with different genetic backgrounds. Our study provides further evidence for the lack of association between HLA class I and MF.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)974-980
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Journal of Dermatology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2001


  • Genetic susceptibility
  • HLA class I
  • HLA class II
  • Mycosis fungoides


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