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Clin Cancer Res. 1998 Nov;4(11):2669-76.

Selection of tumor antigens as targets for immune attack using immunohistochemistry: protein antigens.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York 10021, USA.


The relative expression of mucin antigens MUC1, MUC2, MUC3, MUC4, MUC5AC, MUC5B, and MUC7 and glycoprotein antigens KSA, carcinoembryonic antigen, prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA), HER-2/neu, and human chorionic gonadotropin-beta on different cancers and normal tissues is difficult to determine from available reports. We have compared the distribution of these antigens by immunohistology on a broad range of malignant and normal tissues. MUC1 expression was most intense in cancers of breast, lung, ovarian, and endometrial origin; MUC2 was most intense in cancers of colon and prostate origin; and MUC5AC was most intense in cancers of breast and gastric origin. MUC4 was intensely expressed in 50% of cancers of colon and pancreas origin, and MUC3, MUC5B, and MUC7 were expressed in a variety of epithelial cancers, but not so intensely. KSA was intensely and uniformly expressed on all epithelial cancers; carcinoembryonic antigen was expressed in most cancers of breast, lung, colon, pancreas, and gastric origin; and PSMA was expressed only in cancers of prostate origin. Human chorionic gonadotropin-beta was expressed on the majority of sarcomas and cancers of breast, lung, and pancreas origin, although intense staining was not seen. Staining on normal tissues was restricted to one or many normal epithelial tissues ranging from MUC3, MUC4, and PSMA, which were expressed only on epithelia of pancreas, stomach, and prostate origin, respectively, to MUC1 and KSA, which were expressed on most normal epithelia. Expression was restricted to the secretory borders of these epithelia while stroma and other normal tissues were completely negative. These results plus the results of the two previous papers (S. Zhang et al, Int. J. Cancer, 73: 42-49, 1997; S. Zhang et al., Int. J. Cancer, 73: 50-56, 1997) in this series provide the basis for selection of multiple cell surface antigens as targets for antibody-mediated attack against these cancers.

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