Cancer-testis antigen expression in uterine malignancies with an emphasis on carcinosarcomas and papillary serous carcinomas

Int J Cancer. 2002 Sep 10;101(2):190-5. doi: 10.1002/ijc.10585.


The cancer testis (CT) family of antigens are expressed in certain malignant neoplasms and are silent in normal adult tissues, except for the testis. Expression of 2 members of this family, MAGE-A4 and NY-ESO-1, has been described recently in germ cell tumors, malignant melanomas, certain carcinomas and sarcomas. Our study is the first to describe the expression pattern of CT antigens in uterine neoplasms. Ninety-eight cases of uterine neoplasms, including 41 endometrioid, 19 papillary serous and 7 clear cell carcinomas, 22 carcinosarcomas and 9 endometrial stromal sarcomas were studied. Immunohistochemistry was carried out with the 57B monoclonal antibody that recognizes predominantly the MAGE-A4 antigen in paraffinized tissues and the D8.38 antibody that recognizes NY-ESO-1. MAGE-A4 expression was found to be present in 12% of the endometrioid adenocarcinomas, 63% of the papillary serous carcinomas and 91% of the carcinosarcomas. Within the tumor population the extent of MAGE-A4 expression was highest in the carcinosarcomas. In 12 of 22 positively staining carcinosarcomas more than 50% of the tumor cells expressed MAGE-A4. NY-ESO-1 expression was seen in 19% of the endometrioid adenocarcinomas, 32% of the papillary serous carcinomas and in 45% of the carcinosarcomas. CT antigen immunoreactivity was observed in both the carcinomatous and sarcomatous components of the carcinosarcomas and strong correlation between MAGE-A4 and NY-ESO-1 expression was present in individual cases. In summary, strong MAGE-A4 expression and to a lesser degree NY-ESO-1 expression is characteristic of the vast majority of uterine carcinosarcomas and a major subset of papillary serous carcinomas. These results suggest that CT antigen expression by these tumors may represent a novel target for immunotherapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Neoplasm / immunology
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Papillary / immunology
  • Carcinoma, Papillary / metabolism*
  • Carcinosarcoma / immunology
  • Carcinosarcoma / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Membrane Proteins*
  • Neoplasm Proteins*
  • Proteins / immunology
  • Proteins / metabolism*
  • Uterine Neoplasms / immunology
  • Uterine Neoplasms / metabolism*


  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • CTAG1B protein, human
  • MAGEA4 protein, human
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Proteins