CT-X antigen expression in human breast cancer
Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
Cancer/testis (CT) genes are predominantly expressed in human germ line cells, but not somatic tissues, and frequently become activated in different cancer types. Several CT antigens have already proved to be useful biomarkers and are promising targets for therapeutic cancer vaccines. The aim of the present study was to investigate the expression of CT antigens in breast cancer. Using previously generated massively parallel signature sequencing (MPSS) data, together with 9 publicly available gene expression datasets, the expression pattern of CT antigens located on the X chromosome (CT-X) was interrogated. Whereas a minority of unselected breast cancers was found to contain CT-X transcripts, a significantly higher expression frequency was detected in estrogen and progesterone receptor (ER) negative breast cancer cell lines and primary breast carcinomas. A coordinated pattern of CT-X antigen expression was observed, with MAGEA and NY-ESO-1/CTAG1B being the most prevalent antigens. Immunohistochemical staining confirmed the correlation of CT-X antigen expression and ER negativity in breast tumors and demonstrated a trend for their coexpression with basal cell markers. Because of the limited therapeutic options for ER-negative breast cancers, vaccines based on CT-X antigens might prove to be useful.