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NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms


human leukocyte antigen  listen  (HYOO-mun LOO-koh-site AN-tih-jen)

  A type of molecule found on the surface of most cells in the body. Human leukocyte antigens play an important part in the body's immune response to foreign substances. They make up a person’s tissue type, which varies from person to person. Human leukocyte antigen tests are done before a donor stem cell or organ transplant, to find out if tissues match between the donor and the person receiving the transplant. Also called HLA and human lymphocyte antigen.