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Immunity. 1995 Feb;2(2):167-75.

BAGE: a new gene encoding an antigen recognized on human melanomas by cytolytic T lymphocytes.

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Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Brussels Branch, Belgium.


Several tumor antigens are recognized by autologous cytolytic T lymphocytes (CTL) on human melanoma MZ2-MEL. Some of them are encoded by genes MAGE-1 and MAGE-3, which are not expressed in normal tissues except in testis. Here, we report the identification of a new gene that codes for another of these antigens. This gene, named BAGE, codes for a putative protein of 43 aa and seems to belong to a family of several genes. The antigen recognized by the autologous CTL consists of BAGE-encoded peptide AARAVFLAL bound to an HLA-Cw 1601 molecule. Gene BAGE is expressed in 22% of melanomas, 30% of infiltrating bladder carcinomas, 10% of mammary carcinomas, 8% of head and neck squamous cell carcinomas, and 6% of non-small cell lung carcinomas. Like the MAGE genes, it is silent in normal tissues with the exception of testis. Because of its tumor-specific expression, the BAGE-encoded antigen may prove useful for cancer immunotherapy.

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