Cancer/testis tumour-associated antigens: immunohistochemical detection with monoclonal antibodies

Lancet Oncol. 2003 Feb;4(2):104-9. doi: 10.1016/s1470-2045(03)00982-3.


Cancer/testis tumour-associated antigens (C/T TAA) were the first human tumour-associated antigens to be characterised at the molecular level. Specific genes are expressed in the testis and in tumours of varying histological origin. The tissue expression pattern supports the notion that these antigens could be targets for active specific immunotherapy. Specific serological reagents have been developed and have helped to clarify biochemical characteristics of C/T TAA and to assess their distribution within clinical tumour samples. We review immunohistochemical evidence of the expression of C/T TAA known to be recognised by specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes. The emerging picture is consistent with a mostly heterogeneous expression in human cancers. These findings support the concept of multiantigenic tumour vaccine preparations. Moreover, the wide range of tumours in which C/T TAA have been detected urges further efforts to develop effective specific immunotherapeutic procedures.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal*
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry / methods
  • Male
  • Melanoma-Specific Antigens
  • Neoplasm Proteins / analysis
  • Testicular Neoplasms / immunology*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • MAGEA1 protein, human
  • Melanoma-Specific Antigens
  • Neoplasm Proteins