Blood Group-related Antigens in Human Urothelium: Enhanced Expression of Precursor, Lex, and Ley Determinants in Urothelial Carcinoma
Lewis Blood-Group System
Urinary Bladder Neoplasms
Seven mouse monoclonal antibodies and the lectin from Ulex europaeus, detecting blood group specificities of the ABH and Lewis systems, have been used to define the expression and/or modulation of these antigenic structures in human normal urothelium and tumors of the urinary bladder. The reagents employed recognize the following blood group related antigens: A, B, H, Lewisa (Lea), Lewisb (Leb), Lewisx (Lex), Lewisy (Ley), and type 1 precursor chain. Immunohistochemical studies have demonstrated that these antigenic systems are differentially expressed in the urothelium of secretor and nonsecretor individuals. The normal urothelium of secretors is particularly rich in ABH blood group antigens as well as Leb and Ley specificities. Nonsecretors, however, either lack or show decreased and patchy expression of H, Leb, and Ley antigens. In general, areas affected by carcinoma in situ showed deletion of ABH, as did invasive carcinomas, as demonstrated by other investigators. This was not a universal observation, however, as variable expression of ABH antigens occurred in a few invasive tumors. Lex antigen was not expressed in normal urothelium except for occasional umbrella cells, but was demonstrated in the majority of invasive tumors, regardless of blood type and secretor status of the individuals studied. Ley determinant, which was poorly expressed in the normal urothelium of nonsecretor individuals, was found in all tumors analyzed. An accumulation of non-fucosylated precursor structure was also a feature of invasive carcinoma, particularly in secretor individuals. A panel of anti-blood group antibodies, encompassing A, B, Lex, Ley and type 1 precursor chain specificities for use in patients of known secretor status, may provide useful early markers of malignant change in the urothelium.