Humoral immune responses against the "Cancer-Testis" (CT) antigen NY-ESO-1 are frequently observed in patients with NY-ESO-1 expressing tumors. This is in contrast to other known tumor antigens (TA) defined by antibody or cytotoxic T cell (CTL) reactivity, i.e., MAGE-1, MAGE-3, SSX2, Melan A, and tyrosinase. No NY-ESO-1 antibody has been detected in healthy controls and patients with NY-ESO-1 negative tumors. In this study, we have assessed the NY-ESO-1 serum antibody response in patients with NY-ESO-1 positive tumors of different histological types and stages using Western blotting and an ELISA. Of the 12 patients analyzed, 10 had demonstrable NY-ESO-1 antibodies at the start of the study. All patients were followed for changes in NY-ESO-1 antibody titers during the course of tumor treatment and clinical evolution. In 4 patients, an increase of NY-ESO-1 antibody titer was observed with progression of disease or extensive tumor necrosis under treatment. One patient showed a stable NY-ESO-1 antibody titer over 3 years along with gradual regression of a large tumor mass. In 5 patients, a decrease of NY-ESO-1 antibody was detected: in 1 patient after curative tumor resection, in 3 patients with partial regression of metastatic disease under chemo- and immunotherapy, and in another patient with a NY-ESO-1 negative tumor relapse. Our results indicate that the induction and maintenance of NY-ESO-1 antibody is dependent on the presence of NY-ESO-1 expressing tumors. Furthermore, changes in NY-ESO-1 antibody titers correlate with the evolution of NY-ESO-1 positive disease.
Copyright 1999 Wiley-Liss, Inc.