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Int J Cancer. 2003 Aug 20;106(2):244-51.

Novel tumor antigens identified by autologous antibody screening of childhood medulloblastoma cDNA libraries.

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  • 1Kinderklinik, Hämatologie-Onkologie, Technische Universität, München, Germany.


Medulloblastoma is an embryonal childhood malignancy with poor prognosis. By screening 4 medulloblastoma cDNA expression libraries (SEREX) with autologous sera, 15 different antigens were identified. These antigens were encoded by 3 novel genes, genes of unknown function (KIAA0445, KIAA1853, KIAA0665, FLJ13942, HSPC213), a proto-oncogene (rab18), candidate tumor suppressor genes (BAP1, PRDM13) and genes encoding a motor protein (kinesin-2), a histone (H2A1.2), the ankyrin residue-rich nasopharyngeal cancer susceptibility protein (NZ16) and the transcription factor TZP, which is homologous to the tumor-associated antigens HCA58 and GLEA2. In a consecutive analysis of serum antibody titers and tumor load, a more than 10-fold increase in serum antibodies against PRDM13 preceded the clinical diagnosis of recurrent tumor growth in a patient with aggressive large cell medulloblastoma. When sera of pediatric patients with cancer (n = 40) and healthy controls (n = 40) were tested for humoral responses against the SEREX-defined antigens, 5 antigens were exclusively recognized by sera from cancer patients. These antigens included a novel rab18 gene product translated from mRNA sequences formerly described as 3' untranslated region. Humoral responses against 2 of the remaining 10 antigens were found preferentially in cancer patients. Antibodies against these antigens were detected in 8/40 and 12/40 cancer patients, respectively, but in only 1 healthy control. The 2 antigens were characterized by a tumor-specific deletion and a tumor-specific mutation, respectively. These findings indicate that the humoral immune response against medulloblastoma is directed against diverse antigens that may be useful as diagnostic markers or targets for immunotherapy.

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