MAGE-3 immunoreactivity in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded primary and metastatic melanoma: frequency and distribution

Am J Pathol. 1997 Dec;151(6):1549-53.


Monoclonal antibody 57B specifically detects MAGE-3 gene protein expression. MAGE-derived peptides are recognized by CD8+ T cells and applied in immunotherapy. We examined formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue of 61 melanoma (primary, n = 40; metastatic, n = 21) and 46 control cases (junctional, dermal, compound, Spitz, Reed, and balloon-cell nevi) by immunohistochemistry using the alkaline phosphatase anti-alkaline phosphatase method after antigen retrieval. Immunoreactivity was rated positive at 20 positive cells per tumor or more. Staining pattern was homogeneous, scattered, or focal. All control samples and internal controls were immunonegative. Staining with monoclonal antibody 57B showed a specificity of 100% with a sensitivity of 44%. Immunopositivity (overall, 44% of melanomas) increased along with tumor, node, and metastasis stage; pT1 showed 13%, pT2 22%, pT3a 29%, pT3b 45%, pT4 100%, pTxN1 60%, and pTxNxM1a 63% of samples positive. The staining pattern was homogeneous on pT1 to pT3a tumors, homogeneous or focal in pT3b and pT4a, and homogeneous, focal, or scattered in pTxN1 and pTxNxM1a. The frequency of immunopositivity relates well to data on mRNA expression using reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction in a subgroup analyzed by both methods. Monoclonal antibody 57B can be used to allow profiling of melanomas using routine archival tissue, when considering immunotherapeutic approaches involving MAGE-3-derived epitopes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / metabolism
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / genetics
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / immunology
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / metabolism*
  • COS Cells
  • DNA Primers / chemistry
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Indirect
  • Formaldehyde
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Melanoma / metabolism*
  • Melanoma / secondary*
  • Neoplasm Proteins / genetics
  • Neoplasm Proteins / immunology
  • Neoplasm Proteins / metabolism*
  • Paraffin Embedding
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Skin Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology
  • Tissue Fixation / methods
  • Transfection


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • DNA Primers
  • MAGEA3 protein, human
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Formaldehyde