, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 315-320
Date: 20 Feb 2010

MAGE-A antigens in lesions of the oral mucosa

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Oral squamous cell carcinoma develops continuously out of predamaged oral mucosa. For the physician and pathologist, difficulties arise in distinguishing precancerous from cancerous lesions. MAGE-A antigens are tumor antigens that are found solely in malignant transformed cells. These antigens might be useful in distinguishing precancerous from cancerous lesions. The aim of this study was to verify this assumption by comparing MAGE-A expression in benign, precancerous, and cancerous lesions of the oral mucosa. Retrospectively, biopsies of different oral lesions were randomly selected. The lesions that were included are 64 benign oral lesions (25 traumatic lesions (oral ulcers), 13 dental follicles, and 26 epulis), 26 oral lichen planus, 123 epithelial precursor lesions (32 epithelial hyperplasia found in leukoplakias, 24 epithelial dysplasia found in leukoplakias, 26 erythroplasia with oral epithelial dysplasia, and 41 carcinomas in situ in erythroleukoplakias). The lesions were immunohistochemically stained with the poly-MAGE-A antibody 57B, and the results were compared. Biopsies of oral lichen planus, oral ulcers, dental follicles, epulis, and leukoplakia without dysplasia showed no positive staining for MAGE-A antigens. Leukoplakia with dysplasia, dysplasia, and carcinomata in situ displayed positive staining in 33%, 65%, and 56% of the cases, respectively. MAGE-A antigens were not detectable via immunohistochemistry in benign lesions of the oral mucosa. The staining rate of dysplastic precancerous lesions or malignant lesions ranged from 33% to 65%. The MAGE-A antigens might facilitate better differentiation between precancerous and cancerous lesions of the oral mucosa.