Expression of cancer/testis antigens in cutaneous melanoma: a systematic review

Darryl Tio, Fazira R. Kasiem, Marcella Willemsen, Remco van Doorn, Nienke van der Werf, Rick Hoekzema, Rosalie M. Luiten, Marcel W. Bekkenk

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18 Citations (Scopus)


The cancer/testis antigen (CTA) family is a group of antigens whose expression is restricted to male germline cells of the testis and various malignancies. This expression pattern makes this group of antigens potential targets for immunotherapy. The aim of this study was to create an overview of CTA expressed by melanoma cells at mRNA and protein level. A systematic literature search was performed in Medline (PubMed) and Embase from inception up to and including February 2018. Studies were screened for eligibility by two independent reviewers. A total of 65 full-text articles were included in the final analysis. A total of 48 CTA have been studied in melanoma. Various CTA show different expression rates in primary and metastatic tumours. Of the 48 CTA, the most studied were MAGE-A3, MAGE-A1, NY-ESO-1, MAGE-A4, SSX2, MAGE-A2, MAGE-C1/CT7, SSX1, MAGE-C2/CT10 and MAGE-A12. On average, MAGE-A3 mRNA is present in 36% of primary tumours, whereas metastatic tumours have an expression rate of 55-81%. The same applies to the protein expression rate of MAGE-A3 in primary tumours, which is reported to be at 15-37%, whereas metastatic tumours have a higher expression rate of 25-70%. This trend of increased expression in metastases compared with primary tumours is observed with MAGE-A1, MAGE-A2, MAGE-A4, MAGE-A12 and NY-ESO-1. Many CTA are expressed on melanoma. This review provides an overview of the expression frequency of CTAs in melanoma and may aid in identifying CTA as the therapeutic target for immunotherapy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)349-357
JournalMelanoma Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2019

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