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Acta Otolaryngol. 1996 Jul;116(4):633-9.

Expression of the MAGE-1, -2, -3, -4, and -6 genes in non-squamous cell carcinoma lesions of the head and neck.

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Department of Otolaryngology, Kumamoto University School of Medicine, Japan.


The messenger RNA level of several MAGE genes, some of which have been proven to encode tumor rejection antigens recognized by cytotoxic T lymphocytes, were examined in 41 benign and malignant lesions of the head and neck region. By a reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction assay and Southern blot hybridization, MAGE-1, -2, -3, -4, and -6 genes were expressed in 25%, 41.7%, 33.3%, 8.3% and 33.3% of 12 non-squamous cell carcinomas, respectively. These tumors consisted of 6 papillary adenocarcinomas, 3 adenoid cystic carcinomas, 2 adenocarcinomas, and 1 mucoepidermoid tumor. Of 7 non-Hodgkin's lymphomas, one case from the oropharynx and 2 from the nasopharynx expressed for the MAGE-1 and MAGE-2 genes, respectively. In contrast, none of 12 benign tumors expressed any of these MAGE genes. Interestingly, of 10 other lesions including hyperplasia, keratosis, and ulcer, one histologically diagnosed as dysplasia expressed the MAGE-2, -3, -4, and -6 genes. These results suggest that the MAGE genes may be expressed in malignant tumors and precancerous lesions but not in benign tumors. In addition, non-squamous cell carcinomas may be suitable targets for specific immunotherapy against MAGE gene products.

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