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Clin Cancer Res. 2004 Oct 1;10(19):6551-8.

NY-ESO-1 expression and immunogenicity in esophageal cancer.

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Department of Surgery and Clinical Oncology, Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka University, Osaka, Japan.



Although NY-ESO-1 was isolated from an esophageal carcinoma patient, its expression in this type of cancer and its immunogenicity in esophageal cancer patients have not yet been fully elucidated. We report here the frequency of NY-ESO-1 mRNA and protein expression in esophageal cancer and the presence of NY-ESO-1-specific immune response in patients.


One hundred twenty three esophageal squamous cell carcinoma specimens were analyzed for the expression of NY-ESO-1 mRNA by conventional and real-time reverse transcription-PCR and the expression of protein by immunohistochemistry and Western blot. Sera and peripheral blood lymphocytes from 51 patients were analyzed for the NY-ESO-1 antibody production by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and NY-ESO-1 T cell response by enzyme-linked immunospot assay. Survival analyses were also performed.


NY-ESO-1 mRNA was expressed in 41 of 123 (33%) esophageal squamous cell carcinoma specimens, and its expression was found at higher frequency in well-differentiated and moderately differentiated type of cancer. No mRNA copy was detected in any of the adjacent normal tissues. Twenty-one of 24 (87.5%) NY-ESO-1 mRNA-positive tumors were stained positively by immunohistochemistry. Correlation between the level of NY-ESO-1 mRNA expression and the degree of immunohistochemistry positivity was observed. Antibody production was observed in 2 patients with tumors that showed protein expression. Furthermore, a CD8 T-cell response against NY-ESO-1 was observed in 1 of the 2 seropositive patients.


The high expression frequency of NY-ESO-1 mRNA and protein indicates NY-ESO-1 as a feasible vaccine target in esophageal cancer.

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