Over-Expression and Prognostic Significance of HHLA2, a New Immune Checkpoint Molecule, in Human Clear Cell Renal Cell Carcinoma

Zhen Zhang, Jinyan Liu, Chaoqi Zhang, Feng Li, Lifeng Li, Dan Wang, Damini Chand, Fangxia Guan, Xingxing Zang, Yi Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


HHLA2, a newly identified B7 family member, regulates T cell functions. However, the expression and prognostic value of HHLA2 in solid tumors is ill defined. This study aimed to reveal the expression landscape of HHLA2 in various solid tumors, and to evaluate its prognostic value in kidney clear cell carcinoma (KIRC). Using The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) database, we investigated the expression pattern of HHLA2 across 22 types of cancer. HHLA2 and CD8 protein expression was determined via immunohistochemistry (IHC). KIRC-specific findings were further analyzed with R software and the prognostic value was validated on tissue microarrays. HHLA2 was widely expressed in cancers at both the mRNA and protein levels. Among all tested tumors, KIRC showed the highest transcript level of HHLA2, and HHLA2 levels were significantly higher in tumor tissues than in matched normal samples, as evidenced by both TCGA and IHC data. HHLA2 was also positively correlated with survival rates in KIRC based on TCGA and clinical data. Receiver operating characteristic curves data showed the prognostic value of HHLA2 for patients with KIRC in TCGA. Moreover, HHLA2 was positively correlated with immune-related genes, while HHLA2 and CD8 expression exhibited a consistent trend in KIRC tumor samples. In conclusion, HHLA2 is highly expressed in KIRC and predicts a favorable survival outcome, highlighting that it may work as a potential target for KIRC therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number280
JournalFrontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology
StatePublished - May 19 2020


  • CD8 T cells
  • HHLA2
  • KIRC
  • TCGA
  • tissue microarrays

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Over-Expression and Prognostic Significance of HHLA2, a New Immune Checkpoint Molecule, in Human Clear Cell Renal Cell Carcinoma'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this