To determine the expression of cancer testis (CT) genes and antibody responses in a nonselected population of patients with primary breast cancer, we investigated the composite expression of 11 CT genes by RT-PCR in fresh biopsies of 100 consecutive cases of primary breast carcinoma and by immunohistology in selected RT-PCR-positive cases. Antibody responses against 7 CT antigens were analyzed using recombinant antigen expression on yeast surface. In 98 evaluable cases, SCP-1 and SSX-4 were expressed most frequently (both 65%), followed by HOM-TES-85/CT-8 (47%), GAGE (26%), SSX-1 (20%), NY-ESO-1 (13%), MAGE-3 (11%), SSX-2 (8%), CT-10 (7%), MAGE-4 (4%) and CT-7 (1%). One CT gene was expressed by 90% of the cases; 79% expressed > or =2, 48% > or =3, 29% > or =4, 12% > or =5, 6% > or =6, 3% > or =7, 2% > or =8 and one case coexpressed 9 antigens. Of 100 serum samples screened for CT antigen-specific antibodies, antibodies against NY-ESO-1 were detected in 4 patients, against SCP-1 in 6 patients and against SSX-2 in 1 patient, while no antibodies were detected against MAGE-3, CT-7 and CT-10. Expression of CT genes or antibody responses was not correlated with clinical parameters (menopausal status, tumor size, nodal involvement, grading, histology and estrogen receptor status) or the demonstration of CT gene expression at the protein level, by immunohistology. Our results show that breast carcinomas are among the tumors with the most frequent expression of CT antigens, rendering many patients potential candidates for vaccine trials.
Copyright 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.