Contemporary definitions of tumor specific antigens, immunogens and markers as related to the adaptive responses of the cancer-bearing host

Anticancer Res. May-Jun 2005;25(3c):2345-55.


This review describes clear parameters for designating the correct use of the term Tumor Rejection Antigen [TRA] to define the role of tumor cell constituents which activate adaptive anti-tumor immune reactions in the cancer-bearing host. This is important, especially in defining immunogens which activate the patient's cytotoxic T-cells that are important to immunotherapeutic applications in human cancer treatment. The focus of the review is to correctly delineate the immunogenic properties of 37 kDa oncofetal antigen [OFA], one of only a few true TRAs expressed on human and experimental rodent cancers. The purpose of this review is to provide a background for publication reviewers, journal and text editors, and scientists reporting on TRAs to avoid creating further confusion that has proliferated in the cancer literature to imply traits of so-called tumor-associated antigens that do not qualify as TRAs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / immunology*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / methods
  • Neoplasms / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / immunology
  • Terminology as Topic


  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • oncofetal antigens