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Br J Cancer. 2005 Mar 14;92(5):929-34.

Identification and analysis of tumour-associated antigens in hepatocellular carcinoma.

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  • 1Immunology Department, Peking University Health Science Center, Beijing 100083, China.


To identify tumour and tumour-associated antigens in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) one may find potential diagnostic markers and immunotherapeutic targets. In the current study, 30 distinct antigens reactive with serum IgG from HCC patients were identified by serological analysis of cDNA expression libraries (SEREX). The mRNA expression patterns of 14 of these 30 antigens were altered in cancer as further revealed by cDNA microarray, with upregulation for nine and downregulation for five antigens. One of the upregulated antigens was cancer-testis (CT) antigen (CAGE), which had been previously reported to be expressed exclusively in normal gametogenic tissues and aberrantly expressed in a variety of cancer cells. In our study, CAGE mRNA was expressed in 39.4% of HCC patients, 73.3% of patients with gastric cancer and 30.8% of patients with colorectal cancer. Antibodies against CAGE protein were detected in approximately 5.1% of the sera from HCC patients, 8.3% of that from gastric cancer patients and 7.3% of that from colorectal cancer patients. The relative high incidence of CAGE in cancer cells makes it a potential target for vaccine design. Another antigen of great interest is transgelin 2. The overexpression of transgelin 2 mRNA in a large per cent (69%) of HCC points to its potential as a diagnostic marker for HCC.

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