Aberrant tumor-associated antigen autoantibody profiles in healthy controls detected by multiplex bead-based immunoassay

J Immunol Methods. 2009 May 31;344(2):116-20. doi: 10.1016/j.jim.2009.03.017. Epub 2009 Apr 5.


There is an increasing amount of emphasis being placed on serological biomarkers as tools for early detection of various cancers. In addition to the tumor-related circulating antigens under current investigation, autoantibodies to tumor-associated antigens are emerging as alternative candidates due to their potential high sensitivity and specificity. Already a number of specific autoantibodies have been identified and several groups have reported on the ability of panels of autoantibodies to discriminate malignant from non-malignant conditions. In this investigation we evaluate tumor-associated antigen autoantibody profiles in a group of healthy individuals. We identify a subset of individuals that demonstrate high levels of autoantibody production across the spectrum of tumor-associated antigens tested. We conclude that this observation is a result of undefined non-malignant autoimmune stimulation. Our findings may be an indication of factors present in the general population that may confound multiplex autoantibody-based diagnostic tests by reducing assay specificity. Such factors will require further characterization and the development of adequate controls in order to improve the performance of diagnostic tests.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / analysis*
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / immunology
  • Autoantibodies / analysis*
  • Autoantibodies / blood
  • Autoantibodies / immunology
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / immunology
  • Early Detection of Cancer
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoassay / methods*
  • Male
  • Microspheres
  • Middle Aged
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Autoantibodies
  • Biomarkers, Tumor