Expression of MHC class I, MHC class II, and cancer germline antigens in neuroblastoma
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- Wölfl, M., Jungbluth, A.A., Garrido, F. et al. Cancer Immunol Immunother (2005) 54: 400. doi:10.1007/s00262-004-0603-z
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Background: Neuroblastoma is the most common solid extracranial tumor in childhood, still with poor survival rates for metastatic disease. Neuroblastoma cells are of neuroectodermal origin and express a number of cancer germline (CG) antigens. These CG antigens may represent a potential target for immunotherapy such as peptide-based vaccination strategies. Objective: The purpose of this study was to analyze the presence of MAGE-A1, MAGE-A3/A6, and NY-ESO-1 on an mRNA and protein level and to determine the expression of MHC class I and MHC class II antigens within the same tumor specimens. Methods: A total of 68 tumors were available for RT-PCR, and 19/68 tumors were available for immunohistochemical (IHC) analysis of MAGE-A1, MAGE-A3/A6, and NY-ESO-1. In parallel, the same tumors were stained with a panel of antibodies for MHC class I and MHC class II molecules. Results: Screening of 68 tumor specimens by RT-PCR revealed expression of MAGE-A1 in 44%, MAGE-A3/A6 in 21%, and NY-ESO-1 in 28% of cases. Immunohistochemistry for CG antigens of selected tumors showed good agreement between protein and gene expression. However, staining revealed a heterogeneous expression of CG antigens. None of the selected tumors showed MHC class I or MHC class II expression. Conclusions: mRNA expression of MAGE-A1, MAGE-A3/A6, and NY-ESO-1 is congruent with the protein expression as determined by immunohistochemistry. The heterogeneous CG-antigen expression and the lack of MHC class I and II molecules may have implications for T-cell–mediated immunotherapy in neuroblastoma.