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1.  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
2.  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
3.  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
4.  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
5.  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
6.  The clinical value of the quantitative detection of four cancer-testis antigen genes in multiple myeloma 
Molecular Cancer  2014;13:25.
Cancer-testis (CT) antigen genes might promote the progression of multiple myeloma (MM). CT antigens may act as diagnostic and prognostic markers in MM, but their expression levels and clinical implications in this disease are not fully understood. This study measured the expression levels of four CT antigen genes in Chinese patients with MM and explored their clinical implications.
Real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) was used to quantify the expression of MAGE-C1/CT7, MAGE-A3, MAGE-C2/CT10 and SSX-2 mRNA in 256 bone marrow samples from 144 MM patients.
In the newly diagnosed patients, the positive expression rates were 88.5% for MAGE-C1/CT7, 82.1% for MAGE-C2/CT10, 76.9% for MAGE-A3 and 25.6% for SSX-2. The expression levels and the number of co-expressed CT antigens correlated significantly with several clinical indicators, including the percentage of plasma cells infiltrating the bone marrow, abnormal chromosome karyotypes and the clinical course.
MAGE-C1/CT7, MAGE-A3, MAGE-C2/CT10 and SSX-2 expression levels provide potentially effective clinical indicators for the auxiliary diagnosis and monitoring of treatment efficacy in MM.
PMCID: PMC3922338  PMID: 24499297
Cancer-testis antigen gene; Multiple myeloma; Real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction
7.  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
8.  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
9.  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
10.  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
11.  Epigenetic modulation of MAGE-A3 antigen expression in multiple myeloma following treatment with the demethylation agent 5-azacitidine and the histone deacetlyase inhibitor MGCD0103 
Cytotherapy  2010;13(5):618-628.
Background aims
Immunotherapy targeting MAGE-A3 in multiple myeloma (MM) could eradicate highly aggressive and proliferative clonal cell populations responsible for relapse. However, expression of many cancer-testis antigens, including MAGE-A3, can be heterogeneous, leading to the potential for tumor escape despite MAGE-A3-induced immunity. We hypothesized that a combination of the hypomethylating agent 5-azacitidine (5AC) and the histone deacetylase inhibitor (HDACi) MGCD0103 (MGC) could induce MAGE-A3 expression in MAGE-A3-negative MM, resulting in recognition and killing of MM cells by MAGE-A3-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL).
Gene expression analyses of MAGE-A3 expression in primary MM patient samples at diagnosis and relapse were completed to identify populations that would benefit from MAGE-A3 immunotherapy. MM cell lines were treated with 5AC and MGC. Real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and Western blotting were performed to assess MAGE-A3 RNA and protein levels, respectively. Chromium-release assays and interferon (IFN) secretion assays were employed to ascertain MAGE-A3 CTL specificity against treated targets.
Gene expression analysis revealed that MAGE-A3 is expressed in MM patients at diagnosis (25%) and at relapse (49%). We observed de novo expression of MAGE-A3 RNA and protein in MAGE-A3-negative cell lines treated with 5AC. MGC treatment alone did not induce expression but sequential 5AC/MGC treatment led to enhanced expression and augmented recognition by MAGE-A3-specific CTL, as assessed by 51Cr-release assays (P = 0.047) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for IFN-γ secretion (P = 0.004).
MAGE-A3 is an attractive target for immunotherapy of MM and epigenetic modulation by 5AC, and MGC can induce MAGE-A3 expression and facilitate killing by MAGE-A3-specific CTL.
PMCID: PMC3633222  PMID: 21171821
5-azacitidine; cancer-testis antigen; demethylation; epigenetics; histone deactylase inhibitor; hypomethylation; MAGE-A3; MGCD0103; multiple myeloma
12.  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
13.  Expression of MAGE-A and NY-ESO-1 cancer/testis antigens in medullary breast cancer: a retrospective immunohistochemical study 
Croatian Medical Journal  2011;52(2):171-177.
To immunohistochemically evaluate the expression of MAGE-A1, MAGE-A, and NY-ESO-1 cancer/testis (C/T) tumor antigens in medullary breast cancer (MBC) tumor samples and to analyze it in relation to the clinicopathological features.
This retrospective study included samples from 49 patients: 40 with typical MBC and 9 with atypical MBC. Tumor specimens were obtained from patients operated on in the University Hospital for Tumors and the Sisters of Mercy University Hospital, Zagreb, Croatia, from 1999 to 2005. Standard immunohistochemistry was used on archival paraffin-embedded MBC tissues.
MAGE-A1, MAGE-A, and NY-ESO-1 antigens were expressed in 33% (16/49), 33% (16/49), and 22% (11/49) of patients, respectively. No difference between the groups with and without C/T tumor antigen expression in age at diagnosis, tumor size, axillary lymph node metastasis, adjuvant therapy, and HER-2 expression was identified. Significantly more patients died in the MAGE-A-positive group than in the MAGE-A-negative group (P = 0.010), whereas a borderline significance was found between MAGE-A1-positive and the MAGE-A1-negative group (P = 0.079) and between NY-ESO-1-positive and NY-ESO-1-negative group (P = 0.117). Overall survival, as evaluated by the Kaplan-Meier curves, was lower in MAGE-A1- (P = 0.031), MAGE-A- (P = 0.004), NY-ESO-1-positive groups (P = 0.077).
Expression of C/T antigens may represent a marker of potential prognostic relevance in MBC.
PMCID: PMC3081216  PMID: 21495200
14.  Analysis of GAGE, NY-ESO-1 and SP17 cancer/testis antigen expression in early stage non-small cell lung carcinoma 
BMC Cancer  2013;13:466.
The unique expression pattern and immunogenic properties of cancer/testis antigens make them ideal targets for immunotherapy of cancer. The MAGE-A3 cancer/testis antigen is frequently expressed in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and vaccination with MAGE-A3 in patients with MAGE-A3-positive NSCLC has shown promising results. However, little is known about the expression of other cancer/testis antigens in NSCLC. In the present study the expression of cancer/testis antigens GAGE, NY-ESO-1 and SP17 was investigated in patients with completely resected, early stage, primary NSCLC.
Tumor biopsies from normal lung tissue and from a large cohort (n = 169) of NSCLC patients were examined for GAGE, NY-ESO-1 and SP17 protein expression by immunohistochemical analysis. The expression of these antigens was further matched to clinical and pathological features using univariate cox regression analysis.
GAGE and NY-ESO-1 cancer/testis antigens were not expressed in normal lung tissue, while SP17 was expressed in ciliated lung epithelia. The frequency of GAGE, NY-ESO-1 and SP17 expression in NSCLC tumors were 26.0% (44/169), 11.8% (20/169) and 4.7% (8/169), respectively, and 33.1% (56/169) of the tumors expressed at least one of these antigens. In general, the expression of GAGE, NY-ESO-1 and SP17 was not significantly associated with a specific histotype (adenocarcinoma vs. squamous cell carcinoma), but high-level GAGE expression (>50%) was more frequent in squamous cell carcinoma (p = 0.02). Furthermore, the frequency of GAGE expression was demonstrated to be significantly higher in stage II-IIIa than stage I NSCLC (17.0% vs. 35.8%; p = 0.02). Analysis of the relation between tumor expression of GAGE and NY-ESO-1 and survival endpoints revealed no significant associations.
Our study demonstrates that GAGE, NY-ESO-1 and SP17 cancer/testis antigens are candidate targets for immunotherapy of NSCLC and further suggest that multi-antigen vaccines may be beneficial.
PMCID: PMC3851761  PMID: 24103781
Cancer/testis antigen; Immunotherapy; GAGE; NY-ESO-1; SP17; Lung cancer
15.  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
16.  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
17.  Expression and Possible Prognostic Role of MAGE-A4, NY-ESO-1, and HER-2 Antigens in Women with Relapsing Invasive Ductal Beast Cancer: Retrospective Immunohistochemical Study 
Croatian medical journal  2006;47(1):32-41.
To evaluate the possible prognostic role of the expression of MAGE-A4 and NY-ESO-1 cancer/testis antigens in women diagnosed with invasive ductal breast cancer and determine the expression of HER-2 antigen.
The expression of MAGE-A4, NY-ESO-1, and HER-2 antigens was evaluated immunohistochemically on archival paraffin-embedded samples of breast cancer tissue from 81 patients. All patients had T1 to T3, N0 to N1, M0 tumors and underwent postoperative radiotherapy and, if indicated, systemic therapy (chemotherapy and hormonal therapy). The antigen expression in women who were disease-free for 5 years of follow up (n = 23) was compared with that in women with either locoregional relapse (n = 30) or bone metastases (n = 28). Patient survival after 10 years of follow up was assessed.
The three groups of women were comparable in terms of age, type of operation, tumor size, tumor grade, number of metastatically involved axillary lymph nodes, Nottingham prognostic index (NPI), progesterone receptor (PR) status, and adjuvant hormonal therapy. Estrogen receptors (ER) were positive in 13 women in the 5-year relapse-free group vs 8 in locoregional relapse and 7 in bone metastases group (P = 0.032). There were significantly fewer women who received adjuvant chemotherapy in the 5-year relapse-free group than in other two groups (7 vs 23 with locoregional relapse and 25 with bone metastases; P<0.001). This group also had a significantly better 10-year survival (14 women vs 1 with locoregional relapse and 1 with bone metastases; P<0.001). The three groups did not differ in the NY-ESO-1 or HER-2 expression, but the number of patients expressing MAGE-A4 antigen was significantly lower in the group with locoregional relapse (P = 0.014). In all groups, MAGE-A4 antigen expression was associated with the NY-ESO-1 antigen expression (P = 0.006), but not with tumor size and grade, number of metastatically involved axillary lymph nodes, or the ER and PR status. MAGE-A4-positive patients had a significantly longer survival than the MAGE-A4-negative patients (P = 0.046). This was not observed with NY-ESO-1 and HER-2 antigens.
Our results suggest that the MAGE-A4 antigen may be used as a tumor marker of potential prognostic relevance.
PMCID: PMC2080373  PMID: 16489695
18.  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
19.  Cancer/testis antigens and urological malignancies 
Nature reviews. Urology  2012;9(7):386-396.
Cancer/testis antigens (CTAs) are a group of tumour-associated antigens (TAAs) that display normal expression in the adult testis—an immune-privileged organ—but aberrant expression in several types of cancers, particularly in advanced cancers with stem cell-like characteristics. There has been an explosion in CTA-based research since CTAs were first identified in 1991 and MAGE-1 was shown to elicit an autologous cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) response in a patient with melanoma. The resulting data have not only highlighted a role for CTAs in tumorigenesis, but have also underscored the translational potential of these antigens for detecting and treating many types of cancers. Studies that have investigated the use of CTAs for the clinical management of urological malignancies indicate that these TAAs have potential roles as novel biomarkers, with increased specificity and sensitivity compared to those currently used in the clinic, and therapeutic targets for cancer immunotherapy. Increasing evidence supports the utilization of these promising tools for urological indications.
PMCID: PMC3477645  PMID: 22710665
20.  Monoclonal antibody MA454 reveals a heterogeneous expression pattern of MAGE-1 antigen in formalin-fixed paraffin embedded lung tumours 
British Journal of Cancer  2000;83(4):493-497.
Cancer/testis (CT) antigens such as those encoded by the MAGE-gene family are expressed in a wide variety of malignant neoplasms. In normal tissues, expression is generally restricted to testis. Current knowledge of the expression pattern of CT antigens is mainly based on mRNA analysis. Little is known about actual protein expression. We previously developed MA454, a monoclonal antibody (mAb) to MAGE-1 recombinant protein. By employing antigen retrieval techniques, we show that MA454 is reactive on formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues. Immunohistochemical (IHC) analysis of a normal tissue panel revealed staining solely in germ cells of testes. A series of 59 lung tumours was co-typed for MAGE-1 expression by RT–PCR and by immunohistochemistry with MA454. MA454 was positive in 19/59 cases (32%). MAGE-1 mRNA was found in 17 of the 54 cases (32%) available for RT–PCR. Of the 19 MA454-reactive tumours, 15 showed a highly heterogeneous pattern of expression. The other 4 MA454 positive cases revealed immunoreactivity in >25% of tumour areas. Of the 53 cases typed for both, mRNA and protein expression, 48 co-typed whereas 5 cases were discrepant, a likely consequence of heterogeneous MAGE-1 expression. The predominantly focal expression of MAGE-1 suggests that this antigen might not be sufficient as a sole target for immunotherapeutic approaches. © 2000 Cancer Research Campaign
PMCID: PMC2374655  PMID: 10945497
MAGE-1 antigen; monoclonal antibody MA454
21.  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
22.  Cancer testis antigens expression in mesothelioma: role of DNA methylation and bioimmunotherapeutic implications 
British Journal of Cancer  2002;86(6):979-982.
Recent evidences suggest that malignant mesothelioma may be sensitive to immunotherapy; however, little is known about malignant mesothelioma-associated tumour antigens. Focusing on cancer/testis antigens, the expression of well-characterised immunogenic tumour-associated antigens was investigated in malignant mesothelioma cells. At variance with MAGE-4 and NY-ESO-1, malignant mesothelioma cells frequently expressed MAGE-1, -2 and -3, GAGE 1-2, GAGE 1-6, SSX-2 and SSX 1-5, and distinct malignant mesothelioma cells concomitantly expressed at least four cancer/testis antigens. Additionally, the tumour-associated antigens RAGE-1 was expressed at high levels in both benign and malignant mesothelial cells. Lastly, treatment with the DNA hypomethylating agent 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine induced and up-regulated the expression of the cancer/testis antigen examined in malignant mesothelioma cells. Overall, these findings strongly suggest that cancer/testis antigens-based immunotherapy may represent a suitable therapeutic approach to malignant mesothelioma, and foresee the clinical use of 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine to design new chemo-immunotherapeutic strategies in malignant mesothelioma patients.
British Journal of Cancer (2002) 86, 979–982. DOI: 10.1038/sj/bjc/6600174
© 2002 Cancer Research UK
PMCID: PMC2364149  PMID: 11953832
mesothelioma; immunotherapy; 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine; cancer testis antigens; methylation
23.  Clinicopathological importance of deposits of amyloid in the femoral head. 
Journal of Clinical Pathology  1985;38(8):868-872.
The pattern of amyloid deposits in the femoral head is described in four cases, two of which had deposits of amyloid related to age and two of which had generalised systemic amyloidosis (one of primary amyloidosis, one of multiple myeloma). The deposition of amyloid in the articular cartilage of the femoral head was similar in all four cases. Heavy deposits of synovial amyloid were identified in the case with primary amyloidosis and in one of the cases with amyloidosis related to age. Both cases of generalised systemic amyloidosis showed abundant deposits of amyloid in the bone marrow. Amyloid was not present in the bone marrow of either case with amyloidosis related to age. The importance of these findings is discussed in relation to the pathogenesis of the arthropathy syndrome of a rheumatoid type described in cases of primary amyloidosis and multiple myeloma.
PMCID: PMC499375  PMID: 4031098
24.  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
25.  Selective cancer-germline gene expression in pediatric brain tumors 
Journal of Neuro-Oncology  2008;88(3):273-280.
Cancer-germline genes (CGGs) code for immunogenic antigens that are present in various human tumors and can be targeted by immunotherapy. Their expression has been studied in a wide range of human tumors in adults. We measured the expression of 12 CGGs in pediatric brain tumors, to identify targets for therapeutic cancer vaccines. Real Time PCR was used to quantify the expression of genes MAGE-A1, MAGE-A2, MAGE-A3, MAGE-A4, MAGE-A6, MAGE-A10, MAGE-A12, MAGE-C2, NY-ESO-1 and GAGE-1,2,8 in 50 pediatric brain tumors of different histological subtypes. Protein expression was examined with immunohistochemistry. Fifty-five percent of the medulloblastomas (n = 11), 86% of the ependymomas (n = 7), 40% of the choroid plexus tumors (n = 5) and 67% of astrocytic tumors (n = 27) expressed one or more CGGs. Immunohistochemical analysis confirmed qPCR results. With exception of a minority of tumors, the overall level of CGG expression in pediatric brain tumors was low. We observed a high expression of at least one CGG in 32% of the samples. CGG-encoded antigens are therefore suitable targets in a very selected group of pediatric patients with a brain tumor. Interestingly, glioblastomas from adult patients expressed CGGs more often and at significantly higher levels compared to pediatric glioblastomas. This observation is in line with the notion that pediatric and adult glioblastomas develop along different genetic pathways.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11060-008-9577-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC2440921  PMID: 18398575
Brain tumor; Pediatrics; qPCR; MAGE; NY-ESO-1; Immune target

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