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Oncogene. 2001 Jul 12;20(31):4107-14.

PHF3-specific antibody responses in over 60% of patients with glioblastoma multiforme.

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Institut für Humangenetik, Universität(-skliniken) des Saarlandes, 66421 Homburg/Saar, Germany.


Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), a malignant astrocytic tumour, represents the most frequent tumour of the human brain. Nevertheless, its molecular pathology is not well understood. We utilized the immune system, which contributes to cancer protection, to help identify new GBM-related genes. By screening a human GBM cDNA library with autologous patient serum (SEREX-approach), we isolated a gene termed PHF3 (PHD finger protein 3). The gene product of PHF3 is immunogenic in GBM as tested in an allogenic patient serum screening demonstrating antibodies in 24 of 39 (61.53%) sera, whereas none of the 14 healthy persons had antibodies against PHF3. While previous SEREX studies revealed allogenic antibody responses up to 40%, our results for PHF3 represent the highest reported rate for a specific antibody response. We show that GBM patients with an antibody response against PHF3 show significant better survival than patients without PHF3-specific antibodies. Because the amino acid sequence of PHF3 contains a PHD finger (also termed LAP motif), a TFIIS homology, a proline rich region and nuclear localization signals, it supposedly functions as a transcription factor. A polyclonal antibody generated against PHF3 shows nuclear expression in most investigated formalin-fixed, paraffin embedded tissues. In GBM, PHF3 expression is concentrated in cells surrounding necroses.

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