Presence and prognostic significance of melanoma-associated antigens CYT-MAA and HMW-MAA in serum of patients with melanoma

J Invest Dermatol. 2005 Sep;125(3):526-31. doi: 10.1111/j.0022-202X.2005.23798.x.


With the goal of finding serological markers to monitor patients with early- as well as late-stage melanoma, we compared the levels of the cytoplasmic melanoma-associated antigens (CYT-MAA) and high-molecular-weight melanoma-associated antigen (HMW-MAA) in the sera of melanoma patients and controls. Using double-sandwich ELISA, we measured levels of both antigens in 117 patients and in 62 age- and sex-matched controls. Patients were stratified into four risk group based on stage of the disease. Serum levels of both markers were significantly higher in melanoma patients than in controls. CYT-MAA was the more sensitive marker, with 61% of patients showing elevated levels regardless of the stage of disease. HMW-MAA was elevated in 29%. Elevated CYT-MAA was also significantly correlated with poorer clinical outcome. By multivariate analysis (adjusting for stage and age), patients who had elevated CYT-MAA were 81% more likely to recur than patients with undetectable levels (hazard ratio=1.81, 95% CI=[1.07, 3.06], p-value=0.03). Elevated levels of HMW-MAA did not correlate with poor prognosis. These results suggest that both CYT-MAA and HMW-MAA are serum markers for residual melanoma in patients with resected disease. Furthermore, CYT-MAA appears to be a prognostic marker of clinical outcome in melanoma vaccine-treated patients.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Neoplasm / blood*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / blood*
  • Cytoplasm / immunology
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy, Active
  • Male
  • Melanoma / immunology*
  • Melanoma / therapy*
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prognosis
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Biomarkers, Tumor