Molecular and Immunological Evaluation of the Expression of cancer/testis Gene Products in Human Colorectal Cancer

Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2007 Jun;56(6):839-47. doi: 10.1007/s00262-006-0228-5. Epub 2006 Sep 8.


Tumor-specific gene products, such as cancer/testis (CT) antigens, constitute promising targets for the development of T cell vaccines. Whereas CT antigens are frequently expressed in melanoma, their expression in colorectal cancers (CRC) remains poorly characterized. Here, we have studied the expression of the CT antigens MAGE-A3, MAGE-A4, MAGE-A10, NY-ESO-1 and SSX2 in CRC because of the presence of well-described HLA-A2-restricted epitopes in their sequences. Our analyses of 41 primary CRC and 14 metastatic liver lesions confirmed the low frequency of expression of these CT antigens. No increased expression frequencies were observed in metastatic tumors compared to primary tumors. Histological analyses of CRC samples revealed heterogeneous expression of individual CT antigens. Finally, evidence of a naturally acquired CT antigen-specific CD8(+) T cell response could be demonstrated. These results show that the expression of CT antigens in a subset of CRC patients induces readily detectable T cell responses.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Neoplasm / biosynthesis*
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / genetics
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / immunology
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / genetics
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Liver Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Liver Neoplasms / secondary
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Neoplasm Proteins / genetics
  • Neoplasm Proteins / immunology
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Neoplasm Proteins