Expression of a photoreceptor protein, recoverin, as a cancer-associated retinopathy autoantigen in human lung cancer cell lines

Br J Cancer. 1996 Nov;74(9):1419-22. doi: 10.1038/bjc.1996.558.


Recently, a photoreceptor protein, recoverin, has been recognised as an autoantigen of cancer-associated retinopathy (CAR), a rare paraneoplastic neurological syndrome often associated with patients with small-cell lung cancer (SCLC). Although until quite recently the specific expression of recoverin in cancer cells had not been indicated, Polans et al. (Polans AS, Witkowska D, Haley TL, Amundson D, Baizer L, Adamus G 1995, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 92, 9176-9180) demonstrated the specific expression of recoverin in lung tumour and primary cultured tumour cells from a CAR patient. We examined the expression of recoverin in human lung cancer cell lines by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (PCR), Northern blotting and Western immunoblotting. Recoverin was expressed in only one SCLC cell line from a patient with CAR. The sequence of recoverin cDNA from the cells was identical to the human recoverin sequence. These findings strongly support the hypothesis that the ectopic expression of wild-type recoverin in SCLC induces the cancer-retina immunological cross-reaction, leading to visual loss in CAR.

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism*
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Small Cell / metabolism*
  • Eye Proteins*
  • Hippocalcin
  • Humans
  • Lipoproteins*
  • Lung Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Proteins / metabolism*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Recoverin
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins
  • Eye Proteins
  • Lipoproteins
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • RCVRN protein, human
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Recoverin
  • Hippocalcin

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AB001838