SSX antigens as tumor vaccine targets in human sarcoma

Cancer Immun. 2003 Oct 9;3:13.


The efficacy of current standard therapies for the treatment of sarcoma remains limited. With the aim of identifying target antigens relevant to the development of vaccine-based immunotherapy of sarcoma, we have addressed the relevance of tumor-specific antigens encoded by genes belonging to the SSX family as vaccine targets in sarcoma tumors. Expression of SSX-1 to -5 was analyzed in a collection of sarcoma tumors of diverse histological subtypes and in sarcoma cell lines. We found expression of at least one SSX-encoded antigen in 42% of sarcoma tumors, including 5 of 7 different histological subtypes, and in 50% of sarcoma cell lines. SSX-1 was the most frequently expressed family member, followed by SSX-4, -2 and -5. Expression of SSX-3 was detected in only one sample. Importantly, most SSX positive samples co-expressed more than one family member. In addition, assessment of CD8+ T cell recognition of HLA-A2+ SSX-2+ sarcoma cells showed that the latter were efficiently recognized and lysed by SSX-2-specific CTLs. The results of this study indicate that SSX antigens are relevant targets for the development of vaccine-based immunotherapy of sarcoma and encourage the start of vaccination trials using SSX-derived immunogens in sarcoma patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Neoplasm / therapeutic use*
  • Cancer Vaccines / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Proteins / therapeutic use*
  • Repressor Proteins / therapeutic use*
  • Sarcoma / immunology*
  • Sarcoma / pathology
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Vaccines, Synthetic / therapeutic use


  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Cancer Vaccines
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Vaccines, Synthetic
  • synovial sarcoma X breakpoint proteins