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Cancer Res. 1999 Aug 15;59(16):4056-63.

Identification of a gene coding for a protein possessing shared tumor epitopes capable of inducing HLA-A24-restricted cytotoxic T lymphocytes in cancer patients.

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  • 1Cancer Vaccine Development Division, Kurume University Research Center for Innovative Cancer Therapy, Kurume University School of Medicine, Japan.


Genes encoding tumor epitopes that are capable of inducing CTLs against adenocarcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas, two major human cancers histologically observed in various organs, have rarely been identified. Here, we report a new gene from cDNA of esophageal cancer cells that encodes a shared tumor antigen recognized by HLA-A2402-restricted and tumor-specific CTLs. The sequence of this gene is almost identical to that of the KIAA0156 gene, which has been registered in GenBank with an unknown function. This gene encodes a Mr 140,000 protein that is expressed in the nucleus of all of the malignant tumor cell lines tested and the majority of cancer tissues with various histologies, including squamous cell carcinomas, adenocarcinomas, melanomas, and leukemia cells. However, this protein was undetectable in the nucleus of any cell lines of nonmalignant cells or normal tissues, except for the testis. Furthermore, this protein was expressed in the cytosol of all of the proliferating cells, including normal cells and malignant cells, but not in normal tissues, except for the testis and fetal liver. Two peptides of this protein were recognized by HLA-A2402-restricted CTLs and were able to induce HLA-A24-restricted and tumor-specific CTLs from peripheral blood mononuclear cells of most of HLA-A24+ cancer patients tested, but not from peripheral blood mononuclear cells of any healthy donors. These peptides may be useful in specific immunotherapy for HLA-A24+ cancer patients with various histological types.

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