Our earlier studies had suggested a possible association between the HLA-A2 allele and Alzheimer's disease (AD). In the present study we tested the hypothesis that A2 is associated with earlier AD onset. We performed two independent studies: a collaborative study with 111 patients and a confirmatory study with 96 patients. We found similar patterns of reduced age at onset as a function of A2 in both data sets. Overall, A2 was associated with a significant 3-year shift to earlier onset. The effects of A2 and ε4 on age at onset appeared additive. Our results suggest A2, or a closely linked gene, modulates onset age of AD. Association with A2 would suggest an immune/inflammatory response mechanism for AD.