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Clin Cancer Res. 2000 Oct;6(10):3916-22.

Expression of cancer testis genes in human brain tumors.

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Department of Medicine, Saarland University Medical School, Homburg, Germany.


Cancer-testis (CT) genes are expressed in a variety of human cancers but not in normal tissues, except for testis tissue, and represent promising targets for immunotherapeutic and gene therapeutic approaches. Because little is known about their composite expression in human brain tumors, we investigated the expression of seven CT genes (MAGE-3, NY-ESO-1, HOM-MEL-40/SSX-2, SSX-1, SSX-4,HOM-TES-14/SCP-1, and HOM-TES-85) in 88 human brain tumor specimens. Meningiomas expressed only HOM-TES-14/SCP-1 (18% of meningiomas were HOM-TES-14/SCP-1 positive) and did not express any other CT genes. One ependymoma was negative for all CT genes tested. SSX-4 was the only CT gene expressed in oligodendrogliomas (2 of 5 cases), and it was also expressed in oligoastrocytomas (3 of 4 cases) and astrocytomas (10 of 37 cases). Astrocytomas were most frequently positive for HOM-TES-14/SCP-1 (40%) and SSX-4 (27%), followed by HOM-TES-85 (13%), SSX-2 (11%), and MAGE-3 (7%). Whereas MAGE-3 was detected only in grade IV astrocytomas, the expression of the other CT genes showed no clear correlation with histological grade. Of 39 astrocytomas, 60% expressed at least one CT gene, 21% expressed two CT genes, and 8% coexpressed three CT genes of the seven CT genes investigated. We conclude that a majority of oligoastrocytomas and astrocytomas might be amenable to specific immunotherapeutic interventions. However, the identification of additional tu-mor-specific antigens with a frequent expression in gliomas is warranted to allow for the development of widely applicable polyvalent glioma vaccines.

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