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Tissue Antigens. 2008 Mar;71(3):187-92. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-0039.2007.00997.x. Epub 2008 Jan 7.

An overview of the GAGE cancer/testis antigen family with the inclusion of newly identified members.

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  • 1Medical Biotechnology Center, Institute of Medical Biology, University of Southern Denmark, Odense C, Denmark.


GAGE cancer/testis antigens are frequently expressed in many different types of cancer, whereas their expression in normal tissues is limited to the germ cells of the immune-privileged organs, testis and ovary. Thus, GAGE proteins may be attractive candidates for immunotherapy of cancer. This review describes the structure and phylogeny of the GAGE family members and presents a revised nomenclature, which will enable a more clear distinction of genes and gene products. The GAGE gene locus at chromosome X p11.23 consists of at least 16 genes, each of which is located in one of an equal number of highly conserved tandem repeats, and more genes remain to be identified. These genes are likely the creation of unequal replication under positive selection after the divergence of primates from other mammals. The encoded products are predicted to be highly similar small acidic proteins involved in germ cell biology. When expressed in tumor cells, GAGE proteins can elicit both cellular and humoral immune responses, indicating that they are appropriate targets for cancer immunotherapy. The potential use of GAGE proteins in cancer immunotherapy, including possible limitations, is also discussed.

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