Cancer-Testis Antigens as New Candidate Diagnostic Biomarkers for Transitional Cell Carcinoma of Bladder
Cancer testis tumour associated antigens (C/T-TAAs) were investigated in several gynaecologic and non-gynaecologic neoplasms as possible prognostic markers and targets for immunotherapy. The objective of the present study was to evaluate C/T-TAA expression patterns and prognostic significance in patients affected by vulvar cancer. Melanoma antigen E (MAGE)-A1, MAGE-A4 and NY-ESO-1 expression was determined by immunohistochemistry in paraffin-embedded tissue specimens from 45 primary and 14 recurrent vulvar carcinomas treated with surgery. MAGE-A1, MAGE-A4 and NY-ESO-1 were expressed in 25 (42%), 38 (64%) and 40 (68%) of the 59 samples, respectively. MAGE-A4 was significantly more frequently expressed in tumours with lymph node metastases (p<0.002) and in recurrent tumours (p<0.02). NY-ESO-1 was more highly expressed by moderately or poorly differentiated tumours (p<0.01). This study demonstrates that vulvar cancer frequently expresses C/T-TAAs. Antigen expression correlates with the presence of lymph node metastases and poor tumour differentiation.