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Biotechnol J. 2008 Nov;3(11):1417-23. doi: 10.1002/biot.200800144.

Infrequent and low expression of cancer-testis antigens located on the X chromosome in colorectal cancer: implications for immunotherapy in South African populations.

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Department of Biotechnology, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa.


Cancer-testis (CT) antigens are a group of tumor antigens that are expressed in the testis and aberrantly in cancerous tissue but not in somatic tissues. The testis is an immune-privileged site because of the presence of a blood-testis barrier; as a result, CT antigens are considered to be essentially tumor specific and are attractive targets for immunotherapy. CT antigens are classified as the CT-X and the non-X CT antigens depending on the chromosomal location to which the genes are mapped. CT-X antigens are typically highly immunogenic and hence the first step towards tailored immunotherapy is to elucidate the expression profile of CT-X antigens in the respective tumors. In this study we investigated the expression profile of 16 CT-X antigen genes in 34 colorectal cancer (CRC) patients using reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. We observed that 12 of the 16 CT-X antigen genes studied did not show expression in any of the CRC samples analyzed. The other 4 CT-X antigen genes showed low frequency of expression and exhibited a highly variable expression profile when compared to other populations. Thus, our study forms the first report on the expression profile of CT-X antigen genes among CRC patients in the genetically diverse South African population. The results of our study suggest that genetic and ethnic variations in population might have a role in the expression of the CT-X antigen genes. Thus our results have significant implications for anti-CT antigen-based immunotherapy trials in this population.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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