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Indexed/Abstracted in: EMBASE, Science Citation Index Expanded (SciSearch), Scopus
Impact Factor 0,246
Online ISSN 1827-160X
Molecular Targeting Unit 12, Istituto Nazionale Tumori, Milan, Italy
The analysis of serological responses to tumors has a long tradition. In the 1970s a considerable amount of work was carried out by Lloyd Old’s group, who established the strategy of autologous typing 1 by 1) the use of autologous serum and tumor-cell lines from cancer patients and 2) the use of extensive “absorption analyses” for the definition of the tumor specificity and expression pattern of the tumor immunogenic cell-surface antigens. However, these analyses have not been very informative due to the complexity and heterogeneity of the response. Tumor serology of the 1980s was dominated by the definition of human tumor antigens using murine monoclonal antibodies. In this case too, however, the recognition of tumor-associated antigens by murine antibody repertoire did not lead to any conclusions concerning immunogenicity of such structures in cancer patients. In the 1990s, the availability of recombinant molecules, synthetic peptides and analytic and semi-quantitative assays has enabled a better dissection of humoral immunity. Antibody responses against molecularly defined intracellular antigens (c-myb, c-myc, p53 and p21ras) and a number of cell surface antigens, including oncoproteins (HERs receptors), mucins (PEM/MUC1) and carbohydrate antigens (T, Tn, sialyl Tn) have been found in cancer patients. Very recently, by implementing molecular cloning techniques into the original strategies of autologous typing, the “SEREX” technique was developed, that stands for the serological analysis of autologous tumor antigens by recombinant cDNA expression cloning. This new powerful technique allowed the identification of many antigens recognized by antibodies that are now being evaluated as potential antitumor vaccines.