Cancer testis (CT) antigens are promising targets for cancer immunotherapies such as cancer vaccines and genetically modified adoptive T cell therapy. In this study, we evaluated the expression of three CT antigens, melanoma-associated antigen A4 (MAGE-A4), New York oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma 1 (NY-ESO-1) and sarcoma antigen gene (SAGE).
MAGE-A4, NY-ESO-1 and/or SAGE antigen expression in tumour samples was evaluated by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). Informed consent was obtained from individuals prior to study enrolment.
In total, 585 samples in 21 tumour types were evaluated between June 2009 and March 2018. The positive expression rates of these CT antigens were as follows: MAGE-A4, 34.6% (range, 30.7-38.7); NY-ESO-1, 21.0% (range, 17.2-25.1); and SAGE, 21.8% (range, 18.5-25.4). The MAGE-A4 antigen was expressed in 54.9% of oesophageal cancers, 37.5% of head and neck cancers, 35.0% of gastric cancers and 34.2% of ovarian cancers; the NY-ESO-1 antigen was expressed in 28.6% of lung cancers, 25.3% of oesophageal cancers and 22.6% of ovarian cancers; and the SAGE antigen was expressed in 35.3% of prostate cancers, 32.9% of oesophageal cancers and 26.3% of ovarian cancers. The most common tumour type was oesophageal cancer in this study. MAGE-A4, NY-ESO-1 and SAGE antigen expression were assessed in 214 oesophageal cancer samples, among which 24 (11.2%) were triple-positive, 58 (27.1%) were positive for any two, 59 (27.6%) were positive for any one, and 73 (34.1%) were triple-negative.
Oesophageal cancer exhibited a relatively high rate of CT antigen positivity. Our data indicate that oesophageal cancer is a promising candidate tumour for CT antigen-targeting immunotherapy and immune monitoring.