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1.  Immunotherapy in Multiple Myeloma Using Cancer-Testis Antigens 
Multiple myeloma (MM) is a B-cell malignancy characterized by monoclonal expansion of abnormal plasma cells in the bone marrow. It accounts for 10% of hematological malignancies. Although patients respond to a wide range of anticancer modalities, relapse occurs in a significant number of the cases. Immunotherapeutic approaches have been evolved to tackle this problem. Cancer-testis antigens CTAs as a group of tumor-associated antigens are appropriate targets for cancer immunotherapy as they have restricted expression pattern in normal tissues except for testis which is an immune-privileged site. Expression of these antigens has been assessed in different malignancies including MM.
Evidence Acquisition:
We performed a computerized search of the MEDLINE/PubMed databases with key words: multiple myeloma, cancer-testis antigen, and cancer stem cell and immunotherapy.
Several CTAs including NY-ESO-1, MAGE and GAGE family have been shown to be expressed in MM patients. Cellular and humoral immune responses against these antigens have been detected in MM patients.
The frequent and high expression level of CTAs in MM patients shows that these antigens can be applied as cancer biomarkers as well as targets for immunotherapy in these patients.
PMCID: PMC4667235  PMID: 26634107
Multiple Myeloma; Immunotherapy; Cancer-Testis Antigen; Cancer Stem Cell
2.  An overview of cancer/testis antigens expression in classical Hodgkin's lymphoma (cHL) identifies MAGE-A family and MAGE-C1 as the most frequently expressed antigens in a set of Brazilian cHL patients 
BMC Cancer  2011;11:416.
Cancer/testis antigens are considered potential targets for immunotherapy due to their tumor-associated expression pattern. Although recent studies have demonstrated high expression of CT45 in classical Hodgkin's lymphomas (cHL), less is known about the expression pattern of other families of CTAs in cHL. We aim to evaluate the expression of MAGE-A family, MAGE-C1/CT7, MAGE-C2/CT10, NY-ESO1 and GAGE family in cHL and to correlate their expression with clinical and prognostic factors in cHL.
Tissue microarray was generated from 38 cHL archival cases from Pathology Department of Universidade Federal de Sao Paulo. Immunohistochemistry (IHC) was done using the following panel of antibodies: MAGE-A family (MA454, M3H67, 57B and 6C1), GAGE (#26), NY-ESO-1 (E978), MAGE-C1/CT7 (CT7-33) and MAGE-C2/CT10 (CT10#5).
We found CTA expression in 21.1% of our cHL series. Among the tested CTAs, only MAGE-A family 7/38 (18.4%) and MAGE-C1/CT7 5/38 (13.2%) were positive in our cHL samples. We found higher CTA positivity in advanced stage (28.6%) compared to early stage (11.8%) disease, but this difference was not statistically significant. Analysis of other clinicopathological subgroups of cHL including histological subtypes, EBV status and response to treatment also did not demonstrate statistical significant differences in CTA expression.
We found CTA expression in 21.1% of cHL samples using our panel. Our preliminary findings suggest that from all CTAs included in this study, MAGE-A family and MAGE-C1/CT7 are the most interesting ones to be explored in further studies.
PMCID: PMC3190392  PMID: 21951388
Hodgkin's Lymphoma; cancer/testis antigens
3.  Cancer testis antigens and NY-BR-1 expression in primary breast cancer: prognostic and therapeutic implications 
BMC Cancer  2013;13:271.
Cancer–testis antigens (CTA) comprise a family of proteins, which are physiologically expressed in adult human tissues solely in testicular germ cells and occasionally placenta. However, CTA expression has been reported in various malignancies. CTAs have been identified by their ability to elicit autologous cellular and or serological immune responses, and are considered potential targets for cancer immunotherapy. The breast differentiation antigen NY-BR-1, expressed specifically in normal and malignant breast tissue, has also immunogenic properties. Here we evaluated the expression patterns of CTAs and NY-BR-1 in breast cancer in correlation to clinico-pathological parameters in order to determine their possible impact as prognostic factors.
The reactivity pattern of various mAbs (6C1, MA454, M3H67, 57B, E978, GAGE #26 and NY-BR-1 #5) were assessed by immunohistochemistry in a tissue micro array series of 210 randomly selected primary invasive breast cancers in order to study the diversity of different CTAs (e.g. MAGE-A, NY-ESO-1, GAGE) and NY-BR-1. These expression data were correlated to clinico-pathological parameters and outcome data including disease-free and overall survival.
Expression of at least one CTA was detectable in the cytoplasm of tumor cells in 37.2% of the cases. NY-BR-1 expression was found in 46.6% of tumors, respectively. Overall, CTA expression seemed to be linked to adverse prognosis and M3H67 immunoreactivity specifically was significantly correlated to shorter overall and disease-free survival (p=0.000 and 0.024, respectively).
Our findings suggest that M3H67 immunoreactivity could serve as potential prognostic marker in primary breast cancer patients. The exclusive expression of CTAs in tumor tissues as well as the frequent expression of NY-BR-1 could define new targets for specific breast cancer therapies.
PMCID: PMC3700769  PMID: 23731661
Breast Cancer; Cancer-testis Antigen; NY-BR-1; Immunotherapy; Prognosis
4.  Cancer/Testis Antigen MAGE-C1/CT7: New Target for Multiple Myeloma Therapy 
Cancer/Testis Antigens (CTAs) are a promising class of tumor antigens that have a limited expression in somatic tissues (testis, ovary, fetal, and placental cells). Aberrant expression of CTAs in cancer cells may lead to abnormal chromosome segregation and aneuploidy. CTAs are regulated by epigenetic mechanisms (DNA methylation and acetylation of histones) and are attractive targets for immunotherapy in cancer because the gonads are immune privileged organs and anti-CTA immune response can be tumor-specific. Multiple myeloma (MM) is an incurable hematological malignancy, and several CTAs have been detected in many MM cell lines and patients. Among CTAs expressed in MM we must highlight the MAGE-C1/CT7 located on the X chromosome and expressed specificity in the malignant plasma cells. MAGE-C1/CT7 seems to be related to disease progression and functional studies suggests that this CTA might play a role in cell cycle and mainly in survival of malignant plasma cells, protecting myeloma cells against spontaneous as well as drug-induced apoptosis.
PMCID: PMC3310219  PMID: 22481966
5.  Expression and prognostic significance of cancer-testis antigens (CTA) in intrahepatic cholagiocarcinoma 
Cancer-testis antigens (CTAs) are suitable targets for cancer-specific immunotherapy. The aim of the study is to investigate the expression of CTAs in intrahepatic cholagiocarcinoma (IHCC) and evaluate their potential therapeutic values.
Eighty-nine IHCC patients were retrospectively assessed for their expression of CTAs and HLA Class I by immunohistochemistry using the following antibodies: MA454 recognizing MAGE-A1, 57B recognizing multiple MAGE-A (MAGE-A3/A4), E978 recognizing NY-ESO-1, and EMR8-5 recognizing HLA class I. The clinicopathological and prognostic significance of individual CTA markers and their combination were further evaluated.
The expression rates of MAGE-A1, MAGE-A3/4 and NY-ESO-1 were 29.2%, 27.0% and 22.5%, respectively. The concomitant expression of CTAs and HLA class I antigen was observed in 33.7% of the IHCC tumors. We found that positive MAGE-3/4 expression correlated with larger tumor size (≥ 5 cm), tumor recurrence and poor prognosis. Moreover, we identified 52 cases (58.4%) of IHCC patients with at least one CTA marker expression, and this subgroup displayed a higher frequency of larger tumor size and a shorter survival than the other cases. Furthermore, expression of at least one CTA marker was also an independent prognostic factor in patients with IHCC.
Our data suggest that specific immunotherapy targeted CTAs might be a novel treatment option for IHCC patients.
PMCID: PMC3023685  PMID: 21211023
6.  Limited expression of cancer-testis antigens in renal cell carcinoma patients 
Molecular and Clinical Oncology  2012;1(2):326-330.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the frequency of expression of the cancer-testis antigens (CTAs) NY-ESO-1, MAGE-A4 and SAGE, in renal cell carcinoma (RCC) patients compared to that in head and neck cancer (HNC) patients, which represent a positive control with a high incidence of CTA expression, to identify novel target antigens for immunotherapy. We prospectively examined frozen tissue samples collected from surgery or biopsy from 35 RCC and 40 HNC patients. Total RNA was extracted, and real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT)-PCR was performed to determine the expression of MAGE-A4, NY-ESO-1 and SAGE. MAGE-A4 was not detected in any of the RCC samples, although a low incidence of NY-ESO-1 (5.7%; 2/35) and SAGE (2.9%; 1/35) expression was observed. No samples demonstrated co-expression of the three CTAs. By contrast, a comparatively high incidence of CTA expression was detected in squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) specimens of HNC patients. The actual incidence was 42.5% (17/40) for MAGE-A4, 20% (8/40) for NY-ESO-1 and 15% (6/40) for SAGE. The incidence of co-expression was 7.5% (3/40) for MAGE-A4 and NY-ESO-1, 7.5% (3/40) for MAGE-A4 and SAGE, 7.5% (3/40) for NY-ESO-1 and SAGE, and 2.5% (1/40) for the CTAs. The number of HNC samples positive for MAGE-A4 was significantly higher compared to that of RCC samples. The remaining two antigens, NY-ESO-1 and SAGE, were expressed at high levels in HNC compared to RCC samples. Limited frequency of CTA (NY-ESO-1, MAGE-A4 and SAGE) expression was demonstrated in RCC compared to HNC samples.
PMCID: PMC3956270  PMID: 24649170
cancer-testis antigen; kidney cancer
7.  High throughput quantitative reverse transcription PCR assays revealing over-expression of cancer testis antigen genes in multiple myeloma stem cell-like side population cells 
British journal of haematology  2014;166(5):711-719.
Multiple myeloma (MM) stem cells, proposed to be responsible for the tumourigenesis, drug resistance and recurrence of this disease, are enriched in the cancer stem cell-like side population (SP). Cancer testis antigens (CTA) are attractive targets for immunotherapy because they are widely expressed in cancers but only in limited types of normal tissues. We designed a high throughput assay, which allowed simultaneous relative quantifying expression of 90 CTA genes associated with MM. In the three MM cell lines tested, six CTA genes were over-expressed in two and LUZP4 and ODF1 were universally up-regulated in all three cell lines. Subsequent study of primary bone marrow (BM) from eight MM patients and four healthy donors revealed that 19 CTA genes were up-regulated in SP of MM compared with mature plasma cells. In contrast, only two CTA genes showed a moderate increase in SP cells of healthy BM. Furthermore, knockdown using small interfering RNA (siRNA) revealed that LUZP4 expression is required for colony-forming ability and drug resistance in MM cells. Our findings indicate that multiple CTA have unique expression profiles in MM SP, suggesting that CTA may serve as targets for immunotherapy that it specific for MM stem cells and which may lead to the long-term cure of MM.
PMCID: PMC4365818  PMID: 24889268
multiple myeloma; cancer testis antigen; side population; high throughput; quantitative RT-PCR
8.  Combined cancer testis antigens enhanced prediction accuracy for prognosis of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma 
Cancer testis antigens (CTAs) are selectively expressed in malignant cells and can serve as ideal targets for immunotherapy. We investigated the expressions of MAGE-A3, MAGE-A4, MAGE-C2 and NY-ESO-1 to determine if combinatorial expressions of CTAs might be as potential prognostic markers for patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). In tumor tissues of 142 HCC patients, the mRNA expressions of MAGE-A3, MAGE-A4, MAGE-C2 and NY-ESO-1 were 78.9%, 33.8%, 74.6% and 14.1% respectively. Furthermore, the expressions of MAGE-A3, MAGE-A4 and combination of MAGE-A3, MAGE-A4 and NY-ESO-1 (CTAs-A3/A4/NY) showed positive correlations with serum AFP, tumor stages and Ki-67 (P < 0.05). In addition, mRNA expressions of CTAs were significantly consistent with protein expressions of CTAs by immunohistochemistry (P > 0.05). Receiver operating characteristic curves (ROC) analysis showed that CTAs-A3/A4/NY had larger areas under ROC curve (0.768), specificity (99.1%), Youden’s index (44.6), positive predictive value (90.9%) and negative predictive value (89.9%) for predicting HCC recurrence than other CTAs. Moreover, the combinatorial expression of CTAs-A3/A4/NY was significantly associated with HCC recurrence by Kaplan-Meier analysis (HR = 69.36, P < 0.01) and multivariate Cox analysis (RR = 17.11, P < 0.01). The combinatorial expression of CTAs-A3/A4/NY mRNA promotes the predictive accuracy of HCC recurrence and itself may be a potential target for immunotherapy of HCC as well.
PMCID: PMC4466922  PMID: 26097535
Hepatocellular carcinoma; cancer testis antigen; prognosis; marker
9.  Expression and Immune Responses to MAGE Antigens Predict Survival in Epithelial Ovarian Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e104099.
The MAGE cancer-testis antigens (CTA) are attractive candidates for immunotherapy. The aim of this study was to determine the frequency of expression, humoral immunity and prognostic significance of MAGE CTA in human epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC). mRNA or protein expression frequencies were determined for MAGE-A1, -A3, -A4, -A10 and -C1 (CT7) in tissue samples obtained from 400 patients with EOC. The presence of autologous antibodies against the MAGE antigens was determined from 285 serum samples. The relationships between MAGE expression, humoral immunity to MAGE antigens, and clinico-pathologic characteristics were studied. The individual frequencies of expression were as follows: A1: 15% (42/281), A3: 36% (131/390), A4: 47% (186/399), A10: 52% (204/395), C1: 16% (42/267). Strong concordant expression was noted with MAGE-A1:–A4, MAGE-A1:–C1 and MAGE-A4:–A10 (p<0.0005). Expression of MAGE-A1 or -A10 antigens resulted in poor progression free survival (PFS) (OR 1.44, CI 1.01–2.04, p = 0.044 and OR 1.3, CI 1.03–1.64, p = 0.03, respectively); whereas, MAGE-C1 expression was associated with improved PFS (OR 0.62, CI 0.42–0.92, p = 0.016). The improved PFS observed for MAGE-C1 expression, was diminished by co-expression of MAGE-A1 or -A10. Spontaneous humoral immunity to the MAGE antigens was present in 9% (27/285) of patients, and this predicted poor overall survival (log-rank test p = 0.0137). These findings indicate that MAGE-A1, MAGE-A4, MAGE-A3, and MAGE-A10 are priority attractive targets for polyvalent immunotherapy in ovarian cancer patients.
PMCID: PMC4125181  PMID: 25101620
10.  Expression of Cancer/Testis Antigens is Correlated with Improved Survival in Glioblastoma 
Oncotarget  2013;4(4):636-646.
Glioblastoma (GBM) confers a dismal prognosis despite advances in current therapy. Cancer-testis antigens (CTA) comprise families of tumor-associated antigens that are immunogenic in different cancers. The aim of this study was to determine the expression profile of a large number of CTA genes in GBM.
We selected, from 153 CTA genes, those genes potentially expressed in GBM. The expression pattern of 30 CTA was then evaluated by RT-PCR in a series of 48 GBM and 5 normal brain samples. The presence of CTCFL protein was also evaluated by immunohistochemical staining.
Among the genes with no expression in normal brain, ACTL8 (57%), OIP5 (54%), XAGE3 (44%) and CTCFL (15%) were frequently expressed in GBM, while over 85% of the tumors expressed at least 1 of these four CTA. Coexpression of two or more CTA occurred in 49% of cases. CTCFL protein expression was detected in 13% of the GBM and was negative in normal brain samples. GBM expressing 3-4 CTA was associated with significantly better overall survival (OS) rates (P = 0.017). By multivariate analysis, mRNA positivity for 3-4 CTA (P = 0.044), radiotherapy (P = 0.010) and chemotherapy (P = 0.001) were independent prognostic factors for OS.
GBM frequently express ACTL8, OIP5, XAGE3 and CTCFL. A relatively high percentage of tumors expressed at least one of these four CTA, opening the perspective for their utility in antigen-specific immunotherapy. Furthermore, mRNA positivity for 3-4 CTA is an independent predictor of better OS for GBM patients.
PMCID: PMC3720610  PMID: 23592437
Brain cancer; Glioblastoma; GBM; Cancer/Testis antigens; CTA expression
11.  Immunohistochemical analysis of the expression of MAGE-A and NY-ESO-1 cancer/testis antigens in diffuse large B-cell testicular lymphoma 
Primary testicular lymphoma (PTL) is a rare and lethal disease. The most common histological subtype is diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). Standard treatments are frequently ineffective. Thus, the development of novel forms of therapy is urgently required. Specific immunotherapy generating immune responses directed against antigen predominantly expressed by cancer cells such as cancer-testis antigens (CTA) may provide a valid alternative treatment for patients bearing PTL, alone or in combination with current therapies.
Three monoclonal antibodies (mAbs), 77B recognizing MAGE-A1, 57B recognizing an epitope shared by multiple MAGE-A CTA (multi-MAGE-A specific) and D8.38 recognizing NY-ESO-1/LAGE-1 were used for immunohistochemical staining of 27 PTL, including 24 DLBCL.
Expression of MAGE-A1 was infrequently detectable in DLBCL specimens (12.50%), whereas multi-MAGE-A and NY-ESO-1/LAGE-1 specific reagents stained the cytoplasms of tumor cells in DLBCL specimens with higher frequencies (54.17% and 37.50%, respectively) with different expression levels.
These results suggest that MAGE-A and NY-ESO-1/LAGE-1, possibly in combination with other CTA, might be used as targets for specific immunotherapy in DLBCL.
PMCID: PMC3663708  PMID: 23680437
Primary testicular lymphoma; DLBCL; Cancer/testis antigens; MAGE-A; NY-ESO-1; Immunotherapy
12.  Targeting MAGE-C1/CT7 Expression Increases Cell Sensitivity to the Proteasome Inhibitor Bortezomib in Multiple Myeloma Cell Lines 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(11):e27707.
The MAGE-C1/CT7 encodes a cancer/testis antigen (CTA), is located on the chromosomal region Xq26–27 and is highly polymorphic in humans. MAGE-C1/CT7 is frequently expressed in multiple myeloma (MM) that may be a potential target for immunotherapy in this still incurable disease. MAGEC1/CT7 expression is restricted to malignant plasma cells and it has been suggested that MAGE-C1/CT7 might play a pathogenic role in MM; however, the exact function this protein in the pathophysiology of MM is not yet understood. Our objectives were (1) to clarify the role of MAGE-C1/CT7 in the control of cellular proliferation and cell cycle in myeloma and (2) to evaluate the impact of silencing MAGE-C1/CT7 on myeloma cells treated with bortezomib. Myeloma cell line SKO-007 was transduced for stable expression of shRNA-MAGE-C1/CT7. Downregulation of MAGE-C1/CT7 was confirmed by real time quantitative PCR and western blot. Functional assays included cell proliferation, cell invasion, cell cycle analysis and apoptosis. Western blot showed a 70–80% decrease in MAGE-C1/CT7 protein expression in inhibited cells (shRNA-MAGE-C1/CT7) when compared with controls. Functional assays did not indicate a difference in cell proliferation and DNA synthesis when inhibited cells were compared with controls. However, we found a decreased percentage of cells in the G2/M phase of the cell cycle among inhibited cells, but not in the controls (p<0.05). When myeloma cells were treated with bortezomib, we observed a 48% reduction of cells in the G2/M phase among inhibited cells while controls showed 13% (empty vector) and 9% (ineffective shRNA) reduction, respectively (p<0.01). Furthermore, inhibited cells treated with bortezomib showed an increased percentage of apoptotic cells (Annexin V+/PI-) in comparison with bortezomib-treated controls (p<0.001). We found that MAGE-C1/CT7 protects SKO-007 cells against bortezomib-induced apoptosis. Therefore, we could speculate that MAGE-C1/CT7 gene therapy could be a strategy for future therapies in MM, in particular in combination with proteasome inhibitors.
PMCID: PMC3218015  PMID: 22110734
13.  Evaluation of MAGE-1 Cancer-Testis Antigen Expression in Invasive Breast Cancer and its Correlation with Prognostic Factors 
Aberrant expression of cancer-testis antigens (CTA) in breast carcinoma tissue, and its natural expression in the testis, the tissue away from the immune system, makes them good candidates for cancer immunotherapy and vaccines designing.
The aim of this study was to assess the expression of a CTA (MAGE-1) in invasive breast cancer and its correlation with prognostic factors.
Paraffin blocks of breast cancer tissues from 113 patients operated in 2011 - 2013 were stained for MAGE-1expression by immunohistochemistry (IHC). The associations of MAGE-1 expression with known prognostic factors were assessed by statistical analysis using SPSS 16.
MAGE-1 expression was found in cancer cell cytoplasms of 30.1% of patients, with different degrees of intensity, (23.9% moderate and 6.2% strong). Nuclear staining turned positive in 31.8%, stratified from moderate in 26.5%to to strong in 5.3%. There was a significant association between the number of lymph nodes involved and both nuclear (P = 0.042) and cytoplasmic (P = 0.003) MAGE-1 expression. There was also a significant correlation between the nuclear expression of MAGE-1 and tumor size (P = 0.018). Cytoplasmic expression of MAGE-1 increased with increasing pathologic grade of tumors although the association was not statistically significant (P = 0.119).
CTA MAGE-1 has significant association with some prognostic factors in breast cancer and may have the role of a prognostic factor.
PMCID: PMC5056020  PMID: 27761208
Breast Cancer; Cancer-Testis Antigens; MAGE-1; Immunohistochemistry
14.  Profiling cancer testis antigens in non–small-cell lung cancer 
JCI Insight  null;1(10):e86837.
Cancer testis antigens (CTAs) are of clinical interest as biomarkers and present valuable targets for immunotherapy. To comprehensively characterize the CTA landscape of non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), we compared RNAseq data from 199 NSCLC tissues to the normal transcriptome of 142 samples from 32 different normal organs. Of 232 CTAs currently annotated in the Caner Testis Database (CTdatabase), 96 were confirmed in NSCLC. To obtain an unbiased CTA profile of NSCLC, we applied stringent criteria on our RNAseq data set and defined 90 genes as CTAs, of which 55 genes were not annotated in the CTdatabase, thus representing potential new CTAs. Cluster analysis revealed that CTA expression is histology dependent and concurrent expression is common. IHC confirmed tissue-specific protein expression of selected new CTAs (TKTL1, TGIF2LX, VCX, and CXORF67). Furthermore, methylation was identified as a regulatory mechanism of CTA expression based on independent data from The Cancer Genome Atlas. The proposed prognostic impact of CTAs in lung cancer was not confirmed, neither in our RNAseq cohort nor in an independent meta-analysis of 1,117 NSCLC cases. In summary, we defined a set of 90 reliable CTAs, including information on protein expression, methylation, and survival association. The detailed RNAseq catalog can guide biomarker studies and efforts to identify targets for immunotherapeutic strategies.
A comprehensive analysis of cancer-testis antigens in non-small cell lung cancer based on RNAseq and complemented with immunohistochemistry is provided.
PMCID: PMC5033889  PMID: 27699219
15.  Epigenetic induction of adaptive immune response in multiple myeloma: sequential azacitidine and lenalidomide generate cancer testis antigen-specific cellular immunity 
British journal of haematology  2012;158(6):700-711.
Patients with multiple myeloma (MM) undergoing high dose therapy and autologous stem cell transplantation (SCT) remain at risk for disease progression. Induction of the expression of highly immunogenic cancer testis antigens (CTA) in malignant plasma cells in MM patients may trigger a protective immune response following SCT. We initiated a phase II clinical trial of the DNA hypomethylating agent, azacitidine (Aza) administered sequentially with lenalidomide (Rev) in patients with MM. Three cycles of Aza and Rev were administered and autologous lymphocytes were collected following the 2nd and 3rd cycles of Aza-Rev and cryopreserved. Subsequent stem cell mobilization was followed by high-dose melphalan and SCT. Autologous lymphocyte infusion (ALI) was performed in the second month following transplantation. Fourteen patients have completed the investigational therapy; autologous lymphocytes were collected from all of the patients. Thirteen patients have successfully completed SCT and 11 have undergone ALI. Six patients tested have demonstrated CTA up-regulation in either unfractionated bone marrow (n = 4) or CD138+ cells (n = 2). CTA (CTAG1B)-specific T cell response has been observed in all three patients tested and persists following SCT. Epigenetic induction of an adaptive immune response to cancer testis antigens is safe and feasible in MM patients undergoing SCT.
PMCID: PMC4968567  PMID: 22816680
multiple myeloma; epigenetic induction; cancer testis antigens; adaptive immunity
16.  Cellular immune responses against CT7 (MAGE-C1) and humoral responses against other cancer-testis antigens in multiple myeloma patients 
The type I melanoma antigen gene (MAGE) proteins CT7 (MAGE-C1) and MAGE-A3 are commonly expressed in multiple myeloma (MM), and their expression correlates with increased plasma cell proliferation and poor clinical outcome. They belong to the cancer-testis antigen (CTAg) group of tumor-associated proteins, some of which elicit spontaneous immune responses in cancer patients. CT7 and MAGE-A3 are promising antigenic targets for therapeutic tumor vaccines in myeloma; therefore, it is critical to determine if they are immunogenic in MM patients. We analyzed cellular and humoral immune responses against CTAgs in patients with plasma cell dyscrasias: MM, monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS), and Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia (WM). Bone marrow lymphocytes from two of four untreated MM patients exhibited CT7-specific cellular immune responses as measured by an autologous cellular immunity assay, the first such immune response to CT7 to be reported in cancer patients. Sera from 24 patients were screened by ELISA for humoral immune responses to CTAgs. Two patients with MM demonstrated positive titers, one for MAGE-A1 and the other for SSX1. These data demonstrate that CTAgs, particularly CT7, are immunogenic in MM patients and merit further exploration as targets of immunological therapy in MM.
PMCID: PMC2926649  PMID: 20108890
human; multiple myeloma; CT antigens; cellular immunity; humoral immunity
17.  Cellular immune responses against CT7 (MAGE-C1) and humoral responses against other cancer-testis antigens in multiple myeloma patients 
The type I melanoma antigen gene (MAGE) proteins CT7 (MAGE-C1) and MAGE-A3 are commonly expressed in multiple myeloma (MM), and their expression correlates with increased plasma cell proliferation and poor clinical outcome. They belong to the cancer-testis antigen (CTAg) group of tumor-associated proteins, some of which elicit spontaneous immune responses in cancer patients. CT7 and MAGE-A3 are promising antigenic targets for therapeutic tumor vaccines in myeloma; therefore, it is critical to determine if they are immunogenic in MM patients. We analyzed cellular and humoral immune responses against CTAgs in patients with plasma cell dyscrasias: MM, monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS), and Waldenström's macroglobulinemia (WM). Bone marrow lymphocytes from two of four untreated MM patients exhibited CT7-specific cellular immune responses as measured by an autologous cellular immunity assay, the first such immune response to CT7 to be reported in cancer patients. Sera from 24 patients were screened by ELISA for humoral immune responses to CTAgs. Two patients with MM demonstrated positive titers, one for MAGE-A1 and the other for SSX1. These data demonstrate that CTAgs, particularly CT7, are immunogenic in MM patients and merit further exploration as targets of immunological therapy in MM.
PMCID: PMC2926649  PMID: 20108890
human; multiple myeloma; CT antigens; cellular immunity; humoral immunity
18.  Diagnostic value of cancer-testis antigen mRNA in peripheral blood from hepatocellular carcinoma patients 
AIM: To evaluate the diagnostic value of cancer-testis antigen (CTA) mRNA in peripheral blood samples from hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients.
METHODS: Peripheral blood samples were taken from 90 patients with HCC before operation. Expression of melanoma antigen-1 (MAGE-1), synovial sarcoma X breakpoint-1 (SSX-1), and cancer-testis-associated protein of 11 kDa (CTp11) mRNA in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) was tested by nested reverse transcripts-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Serum α-fetoprotein (AFP) in these patients was also determined.
RESULTS: The positive rate of MAGE-1, SSX-1 and CTp11 transcripts was 37.7%, 34.4%, 31.1% in PBMC samples, and 74.4%, 73.3%, 62.2% in their resected tumor samples, respectively. The positive rate for at least one of the transcripts of three CTA genes was 66.7% in PBMC samples and 91.1% in their resected tumor samples. MAGE-1, SSX-1 and/or CTp11 mRNA were not detected in the PBMC of those patients from whom the resected tumor samples were MAGE-1, SSX-1 and/or CTp11 mRNA negative, nor in the PBMC samples from 20 healthy donors and 10 cirrhotic patients. Among the 90 patients, the serum AFP in 44 patients met the general diagnostic standard (AFP > 400 μg/L) for HCC, and was negative (AFP ≤ 20 μg/L) or positive with a low concentration (20 μg/L < AFP ≤ 400 μg/L) in the other patients. The positive rate for at least one of the transcripts of three CTA genes in PBMC samples from the AFP negative or positive patients with a low concentration was 69.2% and 45.0%, respectively. Of the 90 patients, 71 (78.9%) were diagnosed as HCC by nested RT-PCR and serum AFP. Although the positive rate for at least one of the transcripts of three CTA genes in PBMC samples from 53 patients at TNM stage III or IV was obviously higher than that in PBMC samples from 37 patients at stage I or II (77.9% vs 51.4%, P = 0.010), the CTA mRNA was detected in 41.7% and 56.0% of PBMC samples from HCC patients at stages I and II, respectively.
CONCLUSION: Detecting MAGE-1, SSX-1 and CTp11 mRNA in PBMC improves the total diagnostic rate of HCC.
PMCID: PMC2928462  PMID: 20731022
Hepatocellular carcinoma; α-fetoprotein; Cancer-testis antigen; Diagnosis; Nested reverse transcripts-polymerase chain reaction
19.  Expression of multiple cancer-testis antigen genes in gastrointestinal and breast carcinomas 
British Journal of Cancer  2001;85(5):713-720.
Cancer-testis antigens (CTAs) such as MAGE are selectively expressed in various types of human neoplasms but not in normal tissues other than testis. This characteristic feature of CTAs makes them promising antigens for cancer-specific immunotherapy. A critical requirement for this therapy is identification of promising antigens. In this study, we investigated the expression of 6 genes recently identified by serological analysis of antigens by recombinant expression (SEREX) libraries: NY-ESO-1, LAGE-1, SCP-1, SSX-1, SSX-2, and SSX-4, in many surgical samples of gastrointestinal and breast carcinomas using reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. We found relatively high expression of SCP-1 (23.5%) and SSX-4 (20.6%) in gastric carcinoma, LAGE-1 (39.1%) and NY-ESO-1 (23.9%) in oesophageal carcinoma, and SCP-1 (34.1%) in breast carcinoma. We also found frequent synchronous expression with MAGE, including LAGE-1 (46.2%) in oesophageal carcinoma, SSX-4 (46.7%) in gastric carcinoma, and SCP-1 (38.3%) in breast carcinoma. Immunohistochemical analysis of the tumour samples expressing both MAGE-4 and NY-ESO-1 genes demonstrated differences in distribution between MAGE-4 and NY-ESO-1 in serial sections. We concluded that NY-ESO-1, LAGE-1, SCP-1 and SSX-4 genes may be promising candidates for cancer-specific immunotherapy in addition to MAGE, and that polyvalent cancer vaccines may be useful in cases of heterogeneous expressions of CTA genes in gastrointestinal and breast carcinomas. © 2001 Cancer Research Campaign
PMCID: PMC2364114  PMID: 11531257
MAGE; tumour-rejection antigens; cancer-testis antigen; immunotherapy; cancer vaccine
20.  The Role of Cancer-Testis Antigens as Predictive and Prognostic Markers in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e67876.
Cancer-Testis Antigens (CTAs) are immunogenic proteins that are poor prognostic markers in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). We investigated expression of CTAs in NSCLC and their association with response to chemotherapy, genetic mutations and survival.
We studied 199 patients with pathological N2 NSCLC treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC; n = 94), post-operative observation (n = 49), adjuvant chemotherapy (n = 47) or unknown (n = 9). Immunohistochemistry for NY-ESO-1, MAGE-A and MAGE-C1 was performed. Clinicopathological features, response to neoadjuvant treatment and overall survival were correlated. DNA mutations were characterized using the Sequenom Oncocarta panel v1.0. Affymetrix data from the JBR.10 adjuvant chemotherapy study were obtained from a public repository, normalised and mapped for CTAs.
NY-ESO-1 was expressed in 50/199 (25%) samples. Expression of NY-ESO-1 in the NAC cohort was associated with significantly increased response rates (P = 0.03), but not overall survival. In the post-operative cohort, multivariate analyses identified NY-ESO-1 as an independent poor prognostic marker for those not treated with chemotherapy (HR 2.61, 95% CI 1.28–5.33; P = 0.008), whereas treatment with chemotherapy and expression of NY-ESO-1 was an independent predictor of improved survival (HR 0.267, 95% CI 0.07–0.980; P = 0.046). Similar findings for MAGE-A were seen, but did not meet statistical significance. Independent gene expression data from the JBR.10 dataset support these findings but were underpowered to demonstrate significant differences. There was no association between oncogenic mutations and CTA expression.
NY-ESO-1 was predictive of increased response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy and benefit from adjuvant chemotherapy. Further studies investigating the relationship between these findings and immune mechanisms are warranted.
PMCID: PMC3720740  PMID: 23935846
21.  Cancer Testis Antigens in human melanoma stem cells: expression, distribution and methylation status 
Journal of cellular physiology  2008;215(2):287-291.
Neoplastic populations with stem cell potential have been most recently identified in human cutaneous melanoma, and initially characterized for their phenotypic profile. Being melanoma stem cells (MSC) the most desirable target of therapeutic intervention, we asked whether they express the epigenetically-regulated Cancer Testis Antigens (CTA) on which melanoma immunotherapy is increasingly focusing. Reverse transcription-PCR analyses identified the presence of the large majority of investigated CTA (i.e., MAGE, GAGE, NY-ESO and SSX families) in different MSC populations. MSC expressed MAGE-A proteins as detected by western blot; noteworthy, the distribution of MAGE-A proteins was highly homogeneous within given MSC populations as shown by confocal immunofluorescence. Promoter methylation studies unveiled a homogeneously-demethylated MAGE-A3 promoter that paired MAGE-A3 expression in MSC. Altogether these findings demonstrate that MSC can be efficiently targeted by CTA-directed immunotherapeutic approaches, and suggest that epigenetic patterns most likely drive the expression of CTA in MSC as previously shown for melanoma cells.
PMCID: PMC3624762  PMID: 18205182
cancer stem cells; melanoma; immunotherapy; DNA methylation; cancer testis antigens
22.  Predictive and prognostic effect of CD133 and cancer-testis antigens in stage Ib-IIIA non-small cell lung cancer 
CD133 and cancer-testis antigens (CTAs) may be potential predicted markers of adjuvant chemotherapy or immune therapy, and they may be the independent prognostic factor of NSCLC. Nowadays, there is still no predictive biomarker identified for the use of adjuvant chemotherapy in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients. To clarify the role of CD133 and CTAs as a predictive marker for adjuvant chemotherapy or prognostic factors of overall survival, we performed a retrospective study in 159 stage Ib-IIIA NSCLC patients receiving adjuvant chemotherapy or observe from April 2003 to March 2004 in our institute. Clinical data and gene anaylisis results were collected, while CD133 and three CTAs (MAGE-A4, NY-ESO-1, MAGE-A10) were determined according to their monoclonal antibodies such as CD133, 57B, D8.38 and 3GA11 by immunohistochemistry. All CTAs were more frequently expressed in squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) (50.0%, 26.9%, 34.6%) than in adenocarcinoma (16.2%, 16.2%, 16.2%). CD133 was more frequently found in patients with adenocarcinoma (P=0.044). Negative expression of CD133 was associated with a significantly longer overall survival compared to positive expression of CD133 (62.5 vs. 48.5 months, P=0.035). When combined with MAGEA4, NY-ESO-1or MAGE-A10, patients’ OS showed significantly difference among different combination. (CD133-MAGEA4-/CD133-MAGEA4+/CD133+MAGEA4-/CD133+MAGEA4+: 65.6 months vs.51.5 months vs.32.2 months vs.19.8 months, P=0.000, CD133-NY-ESO-1-/ CD133+NY-ESO-1-/CD133-NY-ESO-1+/ CD133+NY-ESO-1+: 57.8 months vs. 55.7 months vs. 44.6 months vs. 28.5 months, P=0.000, CD133-MAGEA10-/CD133+ MAGEA10-/CD133-MAGEA10-/CD133+MAGEA10+: 66.2 months vs. 57.2 months vs. 48.8 months vs. 41.4 months, P=0.001). There is no difference between patients received adjuvant chemotherapy or not, but subgroup analysis showed that the patients with CD133+NY-ESO-1+ expression who received chemotherapy will survive longer than not receive adjuvant chemotherapy (received vs. not received, 52.1 vs. 27.1 months, P=0.020). In the subgroup with EGFR mutation/ALK translocation/Ros1 translocation/Ret fusion, the trend remained but without a statistically significant difference. Multivariate COX regression analysis showed that stage, CD133, CD133-MAGEA4- and CD133-NY-ESO-1- are independent prognostic factors. In conclusion, CTAs (MAGE-A4, NY-ESO-1, MAGE-A10) were more likely expressed in patients with squamous cell carcinoma and when CTAs combined with CD133, they can be better prognostic factors. Patients with CD133+NY-ESO-1+ expression may survive longer when treated with adjuvant chemotherapy, which indicates that the CD133 and CTAs might be a potential marker to guide adjuvant chemotherapy in this population.
PMCID: PMC4503129  PMID: 26191258
CD133; cancer-testis antigens; non-small cell lung cancer; adjuvant chemotherapy
23.  Expression Patterns of Cancer-Testis Antigens in Human Embryonic Stem Cells and Their Cell Derivatives Indicate Lineage Tracks 
Stem Cells International  2011;2011:795239.
Pluripotent stem cells can differentiate into various lineages but undergo genetic and epigenetic changes during long-term cultivation and, therefore, require regular monitoring. The expression patterns of cancer-testis antigens (CTAs) MAGE-A2, -A3, -A4, -A6, -A8, -B2, and GAGE were examined in undifferentiated human embryonic stem (hES) cells, their differentiated derivatives, teratocarcinoma (hEC) cells, and cancer cell lines of neuroectodermal and mesodermal origin. Undifferentiated hES cells and embryoid body cells expressed MAGE-A3, -A6, -A4, -A8, and GAGEs while later differentiated derivatives expressed only MAGE-A8 or MAGE-A4. Likewise, mouse pluripotent stem cells also express CTAs of Magea but not Mageb family. Despite similarity of the hES and hEC cell expression patterns, MAGE-A2 and MAGE-B2 were detected only in hEC cells but not in hES cells. Moreover, our analysis has shown that CTAs are aberrantly expressed in cancer cell lines and display low tissue specificity. The identification of CTA expression patterns in pluripotent stem cells and their derivatives may be useful for isolation of abnormally CTA-expressing cells to improve the safety of stem-cell based therapy.
PMCID: PMC3140037  PMID: 21785609
24.  Novel antigens in non-small cell lung cancer: SP17, AKAP4, and PTTG1 are potential immunotherapeutic targets 
Oncotarget  2014;6(5):2812-2826.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in both genders worldwide, with an incidence only second to prostate cancer in men and breast cancer in women. The lethality of the disease highlights the urgent need for innovative therapeutic options. Immunotherapy can afford efficient and specific targeting of tumor cells, improving efficacy and reducing the side effects of current therapies. We have previously reported the aberrant expression of cancer/testis antigens (CTAs) in tumors of unrelated histological origin. In this study we investigated the expression and immunogenicity of the CTAs, Sperm Protein 17 (SP17), A-kinase anchor protein 4 (AKAP4) and Pituitary Tumor Transforming Gene 1 (PTTG1) in human non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cell lines and primary tumors. We found that SP17, AKAP4 and PTTG1 are aberrantly expressed in cancer samples, compared to normal lung cell lines and tissues. We established the immunogenicity of these CTAs by measuring CTA-specific autoantibodies in patients' sera and generating CTA-specific autologous cytotoxic lymphocytes from patients' peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Our results provide proof of principle that the CTAs SP17/AKAP4/PTTG1 are expressed in both human NSCLC cell lines and primary tumors and can elicit an immunogenic response in lung cancer patients.
PMCID: PMC4413619  PMID: 25739119
cancer/testis antigens; lung cancer; cancer vaccines
25.  MAGE-A3 is highly expressed in a subset of colorectal cancer patients 
Cancer Immunity  2012;12:16.
The expression of Cancer/Testis (CT) antigens in some tumors and restricted expression in normal tissue make CT antigens attractive vaccine targets. We evaluated the expression of MAGE-A3, PLAC1, GAGE, and CTAG2 in a series of colorectal cancers (CRC). CT mRNA expression was determined via quantitative PCR on paired tumors and normal tissue samples from 82 CRC patients. In addition, plasma antibody titers specific to MAGE-A3, PLAC1, GAGE, and CTAG2 were determined via ELISA. Tissue expression of MAGE-A3 was assessed via a standard IHC protocol. The Student’s t-test was used for statistical analysis (significance p < 0.05). Tumor expression of MAGE-A3, CTAG2, and GAGE was compared to the levels of expression in testis. The percentage of samples that had a tumor vs. testis expression ratio above 0.1% was: MAGE-A3 (28%) and CTAG2 (17%) but no tumor presented GAGE expression levels above 0.1%. The expression levels of PLAC1 in tumors were compared to the levels in placenta, and in 12.8% of the samples analyzed, these levels were above 0.1%. Sero-reactivity specific for MAGE-A genes and PLAC1 was noted in 2.4% and 2.6% of patients, respectively. MAGE-A3 and PLAC1 may hold promise as vaccine targets for CRC. Further study is warranted.
PMCID: PMC3554221  PMID: 23390371
MAGE-A3; tumor expression; colorectal cancer; Cancer/Testis antigens

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