To evaluate the diagnostic potential of 23 candidate genes, belonging to a category of tumor-specific antigens known as cancer-testis antigens (CTAs), in transitional cell carcinoma (TCC) patients. The expression of 16 known candidate CTAs and seven testis restricted/selective genes, predominantly expressed in the testis, was evaluated by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Urinary exfoliated cells (UECs) and cancerous tissues of 73 TCC patients were used as cases, while 25 tumor-free adjacent bladder tissue specimens along with bladder tissue specimens and UECs of five non-TCC individuals were analyzed as controls. Among the known CTAs only MAGEA3, MAGEB4, TSGA10, PIWIL2, OIP5, and ODF4 were expressed specifically in TCC tissues and UEC samples. ACTL7A, AURKC, and CGB2 were testis-restricted/selective genes that indicated specific expression in cases in comparison to controls. MAGEA3, MAGEB4, and ODF4 mRNA was detectable in more than 50% of both TCC tissues, and UEC samples. Slight differences were detected in the mRNA expression pattern of candidate genes between the UEC samples and tumor tissues. Different panels formed by combinations of these genes can show up to 95.9% and 94.5% of positivity in TCC tissues and UEC samples, respectively, suggesting their diagnostic and surveillance potential. Meanwhile the RT-PCR assay of at least MAGEA3, MAGEB4, and ODF4 may be particularly useful for diagnostic and surveillance of TCC in the form of a multi-biomarker panel.
Keywords: Cancer testis antigen; Clinical markers; Transitional cell carcinoma; Urinary bladder neoplasms.