A new strategy for the diagnosis of MAGE-expressing cancers

J Immunol Methods. 2002 Aug 1;266(1-2):79-86. doi: 10.1016/s0022-1759(02)00105-9.


The expression of melanoma antigen gene (MAGE), coding for tumor antigens recognized by cytotoxic T cell, is highly specific to cancer cells, but their use in the detection of a few cancer cells by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) has been limited by the low frequency of expression of individual MAGE genes. In order to increase MAGE detection rate in RT-PCR assay, here, we designed multiple MAGEs recognizing primers (MMRPs) that can bind to the sequences of cDNA of MAGE-1, -2, -3, -4a, -4b, -5a, -5b and-6 (MAGE 1-6) together. The nested RT-PCR assay using MMRPs, MAGE 1-6 assay, detected MAGE messages of 1 to 5 SNU484 cells in a background of 10(7) SNU638 cells. MAGE detection rate of MAGE 1-6 assay in cancers was higher than that of nested RT-PCR that detects single MAGE gene expression. The expressions of MAGE genes was detected by MAGE 1-6 assay in 70.4% (19/27) of head and neck cancer tissues, 91.7% (11/12) of breast cancer tissues, 75% (9/12) of lung cancer tissues. However, they were not detected in 18 benign lesions and 20 normal head and neck tissues and 30 blood samples from healthy donor. In conclusions, MAGE 1-6 assay can detect any cancer cells that express at least one of eight MAGE subtype genes, and this method may be very useful for the diagnosis of MAGE-expressing cancers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Neoplasm / analysis*
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / biosynthesis
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / genetics
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / biosynthesis
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Blood Cells / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Female
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / genetics
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics
  • Lung Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Melanoma-Specific Antigens
  • Neoplasm Proteins / analysis
  • Neoplasm Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Neoplasm Proteins / genetics
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • RNA, Neoplasm / biosynthesis
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • MAGEA1 protein, human
  • MAGEA3 protein, human
  • MAGEA4 protein, human
  • MAGEA6 protein, human
  • MAGEB2 protein, human
  • Melanoma-Specific Antigens
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • RNA, Neoplasm