Expression of cancer/testis (CT) antigens in lung cancer

Lung Cancer. 2003 Oct;42(1):23-33. doi: 10.1016/s0169-5002(03)00244-7.


Cancer/testis (CT) antigens are considered promising candidates for vaccine-based immunotherapy. The aim of this study was to investigate which CT antigens should be targeted in immunotherapy of Japanese lung cancer. To determine the expression of 12 CT antigens in Japanese primary lung cancers and cell lines, a reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis was performed. Among 46 primary lung cancers, high expression rates were found for MAGE-3 (41%, 19/46), and SSX-4 (35%, 16/46). A similar pattern of CT antigen expression was observed in 29 lung cancer cell lines. The expression frequency of a certain CT antigen, namely NY-ESO-1, in Japanese cases was drastically different from that in Caucasians. Polyvalent CT antigen vaccine may be effective to increase the number of lung cancer patients eligible for cancer-specific immunotherapy. Vaccination with MAGE-3 and SSX-1 would cover 57% of all patients, with three antigens, MAGE-3, SSX-1, and MAGE-4, would cover 65%, and with four antigens, MAGE-3, SSX-1, MAGE-4 and SSX-4, would cover 70%. Simultaneous expression of two or more CT antigens was observed in 25/46 (54%) primary lung cancers and 18/29 (62%) lung cancer cell lines. Polyvalent CT antigen vaccines may be also effective to reduce a chance of emergence of antigen loss variants, thus preventing tumors from escaping from the immune system. For this purpose, vaccination with combinations of MAGE-3 with MAGE-6, SSX-4, MAGE-1 or BAGE may be effective for a quarter of Japanese lung cancer patients. In addition, in silico surveys of dbEST database were used for identification of new CT antigens. We identified a novel gene, TES101RP, expressed only in some small cell lung cancers (SCLC) and in testis, as confirmed by RT-PCR analysis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Neoplasm / genetics*
  • Cancer Vaccines / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Male
  • Melanoma-Specific Antigens
  • Membrane Proteins*
  • Neoplasm Proteins / genetics
  • Proteins / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Repressor Proteins / genetics
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Testis / immunology
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • BAGE protein, human
  • CTAG1B protein, human
  • Cancer Vaccines
  • MAGEA1 protein, human
  • MAGEA3 protein, human
  • MAGEA4 protein, human
  • MAGEA6 protein, human
  • Melanoma-Specific Antigens
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Repressor Proteins
  • synovial sarcoma X breakpoint proteins