, Volume 56, Issue 11, pp 1711-1721
Date: 18 Apr 2007

Pattern of serum immunoreactivity against breast cancer cell lysates may predict severity of disease in breast cancer patients

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Humoral tumor-specific immunity has been investigated as a potential tool to identify tumor-associated antigens and evaluate cancer diagnosis and prognosis. Using SDS-PAGE and western blotting techniques we investigated the humoral immune response against tumor cell antigens in 36 breast cancer patients, 17 node-positive (NP) and 19 node-negative (NN). As a source of antigens, we prepared protein lysates from four breast cancer cell lines (AU565, BT474, MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231) which in vitro exhibit different features of invasion, estrogen receptor/progesterone receptor status and HER2/neu expression thereby potentially representing mild to aggressive forms of clinical disease. A higher number of immunocomplexes Ag–Ab were formed when serum from NN patients was immunoreacted against lysates from AU565 and MCF-7 in comparison to serum from NP patients (P < 0.01). BT474 cells were not a good antigenic source. MDA-MB-231 cells could not significantly discriminate between NN and NP patients since both groups showed higher amounts of reactivity against the lysate. However, comparative analysis of protein preparations purified from MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells and immunodetected concomitantly with the same serum samples showed that serum from patients with cancers with worse prognosis (stage, nodality, HER2/neu and hormonal status) reacted more intensely to proteins purified from the relatively more invasive cell line MDA-MB-231 compared to MCF-7. These findings suggest that the study of serum antibody reactivity to antigens purified from breast cancer cell lines with different invasive properties should be further investigated for its potential in providing beneficial prognostic information in breast cancer.