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Int J Cancer. 2000 May 15;86(4):489-93.

Expression of stress protein gp96, a tumor rejection antigen, in human colorectal cancer.

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I. Medizinische Klinik und Poliklinik, Johannes Gutenberg-Universit├Ąt Mainz, Germany.


Preparations of stress protein gp96 from tumor cells are active as tumor vaccines by eliciting immune responses against mixtures of individual tumor peptide antigens which are complexed to gp96. Due to the individual antigenicity of tumors, a vaccine consisting of tumor-derived gp96 has to be prepared individually for each patient from autologous tumor tissue. So far, gp96 expression by human tumors has not been analyzed. Here, we report stable and mostly homogenous expression of gp96 by colorectal cancer, which was enhanced compared to surrounding tumor stroma in 70% to 80% of colorectal cancer specimens. Fewer non-metastatic than metastatic primary cancer specimens showed enhanced gp96 expression. Glucose deprivation increased gp96 protein and RNA expression in the human colon cancer cell line HT-29 in accordance with the role of gp96 as a glucose-regulated stress protein. Additionally, TNF-alpha, interferons and other cytokines induced an increase of gp96 RNA expression in HT-29 cells, suggesting that gp96 expression by colorectal cancer cells can be influenced by different methods of immunomodulation. The stable and homogenous expression of gp96 in 19 primary and metastatic colorectal cancer specimens and the up-regulation of gp96 in colon cancer cells by glucose deprivation point to an essential role of this stress protein in colorectal cancer, presumably by protecting against hostile conditions of the tumor micro-environment like glucose deprivation. In view of these results, loss of gp96 expression by colorectal cancer cells as an immune escape mechanism is unlikely.

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