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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Feb 18;111(7):2482-7. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1400283111. Epub 2014 Feb 3.

Stage-specific embryonic antigen-4 as a potential therapeutic target in glioblastoma multiforme and other cancers.

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Institute of Biochemical Sciences, National Taiwan University, Taipei 106, Taiwan.


Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the grade IV astrocytoma, is the most common and aggressive brain tumor in adults. Despite advances in medical management, the survival rate of GBM patients remains poor, suggesting that identification of GBM-specific targets for therapeutic development is urgently needed. Analysis of several glycan antigens on GBM cell lines revealed that eight of 11 GBM cell lines are positive for stage-specific embryonic antigen-4 (SSEA-4), and immunohistochemical staining confirmed that 38/55 (69%) of human GBM specimens, but not normal brain tissue, were SSEA-4(+) and correlated with high-grade astrocytoma. In addition, an SSEA-4-specific mAb was found to induce complement-dependent cytotoxicity against SSEA-4(hi) GBM cell lines in vitro and suppressed GBM tumor growth in mice. Because SSEA-4 is expressed on GBM and many other types of cancers, but not on normal cells, it could be a target for development of therapeutic antibodies and vaccines.


Globo H; SSEA-3; gangliosides; glycosphingolipids; targeted therapy

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