Squamous cell carcinoma-associated antigens used in novel strategies for the detection and treatment of minimal residual head and neck cancer

Guus A.M.S. Van Dongen, Ruud M. Brakenhoff, Corlinda Ten Brink, Frank B. Van Gog, Remco De Bree, Jasper J. Ouak, Gordon B. Snow

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The improvement of detection and eradication of minimal residual disease, to reduce local and distant relapse after primary therapy, is one of the major challenges in the management of squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (HNSCC). This paper describes perspectives arising from the use of monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) E48 and U36 directed against HNSCC-associated antigens, and the molecular characterization of these antigens. Novel strategies for the detection of minimal residual disease are outlined and comprise the use of immunocytochemistry in combination with automated image analysis, and the use of an E48-specific reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) method. These methods have potential for the detection of single HNSCC cells in lymph nodes, bone marrow and peripheral blood, and may contribute to the better staging of head and neck cancer in the near future. Besides this, preclinical and clinical data on HNSCC targeting with radiolabelled MAbs E48 and U36 are summarized, illustrating the perspectives of systemic adjuvant radioimmunotherapy with these MAbs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2409-2413
Number of pages5
JournalAnticancer research
Issue number4 C
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 1996


  • Adjuvant therapy monoclonal antibodies
  • Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma
  • Minimal residual disease
  • Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction
  • Tumour detection

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