NY-ESO-1 is a cancer/testis antigen expressed in normal adult tissues solely in the testicular germ cells of normal adults and in various cancers. It induces specific humoral and cellular immunity in patients with NY-ESO-1-expressing cancer. The aim of this study was to determine the frequency of NY-ESO-1 mRNA and protein expression in malignant and benign breast tumors. NY-ESO-1 mRNA expression was detected by conventional reverse transcription-PCR and real-time PCR, and that of the protein expression by immunohistochemistry and Western blot analysis. Expression of NY-ESO-1 mRNA was detected in 37 of 88 (42%) cancer specimens, whereas that of the NY-ESO-1 protein was detected only in 1 mRNA-positive specimen. In the latter case, expression level of NY-ESO-1 mRNA relative to that in the testis was relatively high (75% of testicular expression) and to the other among breast cancer specimens. In benign breast lesions, 21 of 31 (68%) specimens expressed low levels of NY-ESO-1 mRNA. In 1 case of fibroadenoma, NY-ESO-1 mRNA was 8% of the testicular level, and protein was detected by Western blot analysis. Only 1 breast cancer patient had detectable antibody at time of surgery, which disappeared within 2 years. Tumor specimen from this patient was both NY-ESO-1 mRNA and protein positive, and NY-ESO-1-specific CD8 T cells were detected in this patient by IFN-γ enzyme-linked immunospot assay using NY-ESO-1 recombinant adeno and vaccinia virus. A higher rate of NY-ESO-1 expression was noted in breast cancer with high histological grade and negative hormone receptor status, suggesting NY-ESO-1 as a potential tumor antigen for immunotherapy in patients with breast cancer and poor prognosis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research