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Eur J Immunol. 2001 Mar;31(3):716-25.

Profiling the immune response in patients with breast cancer by phage-displayed cDNA libraries.

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Institute for Cancer Research, Department of Immunology, Molecular Medicine Group The Norwegian Radium Hospital, Oslo, Norway.


Display on the surface of filamentous phages has been shown to be well suited for the enrichment of serum antibody-binding ligands. Here, we have taken the advantage of this technology to analyze the humoral immune response in patients with cancer. The cDNA repertoires from breast cancer cell lines T47D and MCF-7 were fused to the 3'-end of the filamentous phage M13 gene VI in all three reading frames. When the libraries were biopanned on rabbit polyclonal IgG against the human Bcl-x(L) protein, positive clones were selected, thus confirming the utility of the libraries. Using serum antibodies from patients with breast cancer, we specifically selected IgG-binding phage-encoded cDNA products. Sequence analysis of the selected clones identified important antigens including p53, centromere-F, int-2, pentraxin I, integrin beta5, cathepsin L2 and S3 ribosomal protein. The selected phage-displayed cDNA products were recognized by a significant number of breast cancer sera as compared to sera from normal individuals. Although the human pentraxin I mRNA was reported to be exclusively localized in the nervous system, we found it also expressed by breast cancer cell lines. Four out of 30 patients with breast cancer (13 %) showed reactivity with the recombinant pentraxin expressed in Escherichia coli, while no reactivity was found in normal sera. The obtained results demonstrate that phage display could be a valuable method for the identification of antigens recognized by the humoral immune system in patients with cancer.

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