A panel of cancer-testis genes exhibiting broad-spectrum expression in haematological malignancies

Amanda P. Liggins1, Seah H. Lim2, Elizabeth J. Soilleux3, Karen Pulford1* and Alison H. Banham1*

1Nuffield Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences, University of Oxford, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, UK

2Biotherapy and Stem Cell Transplant Program, Texas Oncology Cancer Center, Amarillo, Texas, USA

3Department of Cellular Pathology, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, UK

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Communicated by: LJ Old

Keywords: human, haematological cancer, CT antigens, RT-PCR, immunohistochemistry, Western blotting


Cancer-testis (CT) antigens/genes show restricted expression in normal tissues but widespread expression in many tumour types. This, coupled with their ability to induce cytotoxic T-lymphocyte responses, makes them attractive vaccine candidates. Following our identification of PASD1, we have used RT-PCR to analyse the mRNA expression profile of a large panel of CT genes in cell lines derived from haematological malignancies, and have studied Sp17 protein expression in the same cell lines and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) biopsies. Our extensive analysis revealed multiple CT transcripts exhibiting widespread expression across cell lines derived from 21 B- and 4 T-cell malignancies. The broadest mRNA expression profiles were observed for the following eight CT genes: Sp17 (25/25), PRAME (25/25), CSAGE (24/25), PASD1 (22/25), CAGE/DDX53 (19/25), CTAGE1 (19/25), HAGE/DDX43 (16/25) and PLU-1/JARID1B (15/25). Cell lines derived from more aggressive lymphoma subtypes generally expressed CT transcripts at higher frequency. Sp17 protein was detected in a number of cell lines and in six of eleven (54.5%) DLBCL biopsies. Analysis of Sp17 protein expression, by immunohistochemistry and Western blotting, broadens the scope of this CT antigen as a potentially relevant clinical target in haematological malignancies. Further studies of protein expression are now needed to validate these antigens as vaccine candidates.