Cancer-testis antigen expression in triple-negative breast cancer

G. Curigliano, G. Viale, M. Ghioni, A. A. Jungbluth, V. Bagnardi, G. C. Spagnoli, A. M. NevilleM, F. Nolè, N. Rotmensz, A. Goldhirsch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Cancer-testis (CT) antigens, frequently expressed in human germline cells but not in somatic tissues, may become aberrantly reexpressed in different cancer types. The aim of this study was to investigate the expression of CT antigens in breast cancer. Patients and methods: A total of 100 selected invasive breast cancers, including 50 estrogen receptor (ER) positive/HER2 negative and 50 triple negative (TN), were examined for NY-ESO-1 and MAGE-A expression by immunohistochemistry. Results: A significantly higher expression of MAGE-A and NY-ESO-1 was detected in TN breast cancers compared with ER-positive tumors (P ' 0.04). MAGE-A expression was detected in 13 (26%) TN cancers compared with 5 (10%) ER-positive tumors (P ' 0.07). NY-ESO-1 expression was confirmed in nine (18%) TN tumor samples compared with two (4%) ER-positive tumors. Conclusions: MAGE-A and NY-ESO-1 CT antigens are expressed in a substantial proportion of TN breast cancers. Because of the limited therapeutic options for this group of patients, CT antigen-based vaccines might prove to be useful for patients with this phenotype of breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98-103
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Oncology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Breast cancer
  • Cancer-testis antigens
  • MAGE
  • NY-ESO 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Hematology


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