Background: The MAGE, BAGE, and GAGE gene families code for distinct, tumor specific antigens that are recognized by cytotoxic T lymphocytes in the context of HLA molecules. The purpose of this study was to analyze MAGE, BAGE, and GAGE gene expression in the two major histologic types of esophageal carcinoma, squamous carcinoma (ESCc) and adenocarcinoma (CAc), and to correlate their expression patterns with the principal prognostic parameters and long term survival.
Methods: Gene expression was analyzed in surgical samples from 24 patients with ESCc and 24 patients with CAc by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction amplification (RT-PCR). None of the patients had received preoperative chemotherapy or radiotherapy, and all were followed until death or for a minimum of 4 years.
Results: Sixteen ESCc samples (67%) and 9 CAc samples (37.5%) expressed at least one of the genes under study. The expression of each MAGE gene in the two histologic types was not significantly different, with the exception of MAGE-4, which was expressed more in ESCc samples than in CAc samples. BAGE and GAGE expression was rather low and, in every case, was associated with the expression of at least one MAGE gene.
Conclusions: In the group as a whole, and in both ESCc and CAc subgroups, no significant correlation emerged between the expression of any gene and prognostic parameters, such as pathologic tumor, lymph node, or disease stage. Nevertheless, BAGE or GAGE expression was related significantly to a poor prognosis, whereas the expression of MAGE genes (in the absence of BAGE and GAGE expression) was related significantly to a good prognosis.
Copyright 2001 American Cancer Society.