MUC1 is immunogenic in vivo and humoral and cellular immune responses against MUC1 have been detected in cancer patients. Our study explored the association of circulating anti-MUC1 antibodies with clinicopathological parameters or patients' survival of pancreatic cancer. Serum specimens from 36 patients with invasive ductal carcinoma of the pancreas were subjected to enzyme immunoassay for anti-MUC1 IgG or IgM antibodies. Serum levels of anti-MUC1 IgG antibodies were significantly correlated with survival time (p = 0.0004), whereas neither those of anti-MUC1 IgM nor anti-Galalpha(1,3)Gal IgG antibodies, the latter known as natural antibodies cross-reactive with MUC1, showed a given tendency. Some patients' sera with the higher antibody titer showed the reactivity with MUC1-transfectants of cultured pancreatic cancer cells, but not with MUC1-negative parental cells. When the samples were tentatively divided into 2 groups by the serum level of anti-MUC1 IgG antibodies, the survival of patients was significantly longer in the group with optical density >or=0.3 than in that with optical density <0.3 (p = 0.008). Circulating anti-MUC1 IgG antibody levels remained significant (HR, 0.03; 95% CI, 0.003-0.289; p = 0.0024) after multivariate analysis for pTNM stage, patient age and gender. These data suggest that circulating anti-MUC1-IgG antibody levels may be predictive for survival of pancreatic cancer patients.
Copyright 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.