Synovial sarcomas are high-grade malignant mesenchymal tumors carrying a pathognomonic cytogenetic alteration t(X;18) involving the SYT gene on chromosome 18 and either SSX1 or SSX2 on chromosome X. Morphologically, biphasic (BSS) and monophasic (MSS) variants can be distinguished. Cancer/testis (CT) antigens are expressed in a variety of malignant tumors, but not in normal tissues except in germ cells, primarily of the testis. Anti-MAGE monoclonal antibody (mAb) 57B previously showed a high incidence and homogenous reactivity pattern in a preliminary analysis of synovial sarcomas. This study was performed to analyze the expression of MAGE by immunohistochemistry with mAb 57B in 25 synovial sarcomas (12 monophasic, 13 biphasic), which were typed for the t(X;18)-derived fusion transcript by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (19 SYT-SSX1, 6 SYT-SSX2). 57B immunoreactivity was present in 22 of 25 (88%) cases, and antigen expression was homogeneous in 14 of 22 57B-positive cases. Both morphological variants and both translocation types were immunoreactive; three SYT-SSX1 tumors (one MSS, two BSS) were 57B negative. Our study demonstrates that MAGE is frequently and homogeneously expressed in synovial sarcomas of both morphological variants and both translocation types, making these tumors an attractive target for MAGE antigen-based immunotherapy.
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