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J Natl Cancer Inst. 1998 Jan 21;90(2):146-9.

Identification of melanoma antigens that are immunogenic in humans and expressed in vivo.

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  • 1Kaplan Cancer Center, New York University School of Medicine, New York 10016, USA.

Erratum in

  • J Natl Cancer Inst 1998 Jul 1;90(13):1017.



In the development of an antimelanoma vaccine, a critical factor is the identification of antigens that induce a strong immune response in humans and that are expressed by melanoma cells in vivo. The aim of this study was to identify candidate antigens for such vaccine.


Sixty-nine patients with surgically resected melanomas (American Joint Commission on Cancer [AJCC] stage III) were immunized with a polyvalent vaccine containing multiple melanoma antigens. Antimelanoma antibodies generated in the patients' sera were used as probes to identify the melanoma antigens that are immunogenic in humans and that are expressed on the tumor tissue in vivo. Such responses were determined by an immunoblotting assay that employed an antigen source prepared from membrane fractions of freshly excised melanoma tissue.


Vaccine treatment stimulated antibody responses in 35 (51%; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 39%-63%) of 69 sequentially enrolled patients. The antibodies were directed to one or more antigens with molecular masses of 45, 59, 68, 79, 89, 95, and/or 110 kd. The most immunogenic antigens were p110 and p68, which induced responses in 33% (95% CI = 22%-44%) and 25% (95% CI = 15%-35%) of patients, respectively. Both antigens were commonly expressed on different melanomas, but they were absent on autologous normal tissue and on an unrelated allogeneic tumor. All the above antigens are attractive candidates for vaccine construction.

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