Expression of the 5T4 oncofoetal antigen in renal cell carcinoma: a potential target for T-cell-based immunotherapy

Br J Cancer. 2005 Sep 19;93(6):670-7. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6602776.


The 5T4 oncofoetal antigen is a heavily glycosylated cell surface protein found on human placental trophoblast and on diverse types of human cancer but is not expressed at significant levels on adult human tissues in health. It therefore satisfies the criteria for a tumour-associated antigen and is an ideal target for the immunotherapy of cancer. We report here that 5T4 is strongly expressed on the majority of renal cell carcinomas and therefore this population of patients is suitable for trials of 5T4-targeted therapies. In particular, we have shown that T cells from renal cell carcinoma patients can be genetically modified to kill 5T4 expressing renal cancer cell lines by introduction of a chimeric-signalling protein. This protein consists of a single chain antibody fragment capable of binding antigen directly at the cell surface and then activating the T cell by virtue of a CD3zeta-signalling domain. This is a powerful tool that bypasses a number of mechanisms that allow tumours to escape T-cell killing and can be readily scaled up for clinical use.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma, Clear Cell / metabolism
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / immunology*
  • Apoptosis
  • Carcinoma, Papillary / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / metabolism*
  • Chromium / metabolism
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy*
  • Interferon-gamma / metabolism
  • Kidney Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / immunology
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / metabolism*
  • Middle Aged
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • trophoblastic glycoprotein 5T4, human
  • Chromium
  • Interferon-gamma