Gene Summary

Gene:MAGEA1; MAGE family member A1
Aliases: CT1.1, MAGE1
Summary:This gene is a member of the MAGEA gene family. The members of this family encode proteins with 50 to 80% sequence identity to each other. The promoters and first exons of the MAGEA genes show considerable variability, suggesting that the existence of this gene family enables the same function to be expressed under different transcriptional controls. The MAGEA genes are clustered at chromosomal location Xq28. They have been implicated in some hereditary disorders, such as dyskeratosis congenita. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:melanoma-associated antigen 1
Source:NCBIAccessed: 13 March, 2017


What does this gene/protein do?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1992-2017)
Graph generated 13 March 2017 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

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Tag cloud generated 13 March, 2017 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Latest Publications: MAGEA1 (cancer-related)

Parodi A, Traverso P, Kalli F, et al.
Residual tumor micro-foci and overwhelming regulatory T lymphocyte infiltration are the causes of bladder cancer recurrence.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(6):6424-35 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Bladder cancer has an unexplained, high recurrence rate. Causes of recurrence might include the presence of sporadic tumor micro-foci in the residual urothelial tissue after surgery associated with an inverted ratio between intratumoral effector and regulatory T cell subsets. Hence, surgical specimens of both tumors and autologous, macroscopically/histologically free-of-tumor tissues were collected from 28 and 20 patients affected by bladder or renal cancer, respectively. The frequencies of effector (IFNγ+ and IL17+ T cells) and regulatory (CD4+CD25hiCD127lo and CD8+CD28-CD127loCD39+ Treg) T cell subpopulations among tumor infiltrating lymphocytes were analyzed by immunofluorescence, while the gene expression of MAGE-A1 and MAGE-A2 tumor-associated antigens was studied by RT-PCR. The results show that both the T cell infiltrate and the frequency of MAGE-A1/A2 gene expression were comparable in tumors and in autologous free-of-tumor tissues in bladder cancer, while the autologous free-of-tumor renal tissues showed reduced T cell infiltrate and frequency of MAGE gene expression as compared to the autologous tumors. Importantly, the intra-tumor T effector/Treg cell ratio was consistently <1 in bladder cancer patients (n. 7) who relapsed within two years, while it was always >1 in patients (n. 6) without recurrence (regardless of tumor stage) (P = 0.0006, Odds ratio = 195). These unprecedented findings clarify the pathogenic mechanism of bladder cancer recurrence and suggest that microscopically undetectable micro-foci of tumor may predispose to recurrence when associated with an inverted intratumoral T effector/Treg cell ratio.

Brisam M, Rauthe S, Hartmann S, et al.
Expression of MAGE-A1-A12 subgroups in the invasive tumor front and tumor center in oral squamous cell carcinoma.
Oncol Rep. 2016; 35(4):1979-86 [PubMed] Related Publications
MAGE-A proteins are highly expressed in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) and are promising targets for cancer immunotherapy. This study examined the presence of MAGE-A expression within the tumor center (TC) and tumor invasive front (TIF) and evaluated its relationship to poor prognosis. The expression rate of each MAGE-A subtype, A1-A12, was examined in 68 OSCCs at the TIF and TC. Slides (1-µm) of tissue microarrays (diameter =0.6 mm) were immunohistochemically stained, and the findings were correlated to clinical data. Approximately 95% of the tumors had MAGE-A expression. Higher expression in the TC was shown significantly for MAGE-A1, -A5, -A6, -A9 and -A12 (P<0.05). MAGE-A2 and -A3 exhibited the opposite behavior (not significant, P>0.05). Age, tumor size, grade and survival time were not associated with the expression of certain MAGE-A subgroups. When expression in the whole tumor tissue was considered, only MAGE-A1 was expressed at a significantly higher rate in male patients (P=0.034). At the TIF, MAGE-A9 and the UICC disease stage were significantly correlated (P=0.0263), and MAGE-A6 and the UICC disease stage exhibited a strong trend (P=0.0596). The expression of MAGE-A3, -A4, -A5, -A9 and -A11 was significantly associated with lymph node metastasis, while MAGE-A4 was expressed in all regions of the tumors (TIF and TC). This study showed that higher expression of most MAGE-A antigens occurred at the TC rather than at the TIF. MAGE‑A1, -A3, -A4, -A5, -A9 and -A11 were significantly associated with clinically advanced stages of disease and seem to be of particular interest.

Rauscher GH, Kresovich JK, Poulin M, et al.
Exploring DNA methylation changes in promoter, intragenic, and intergenic regions as early and late events in breast cancer formation.
BMC Cancer. 2015; 15:816 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Breast cancer formation is associated with frequent changes in DNA methylation but the extent of very early alterations in DNA methylation and the biological significance of cancer-associated epigenetic changes need further elucidation.
METHODS: Pyrosequencing was done on bisulfite-treated DNA from formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded sections containing invasive tumor and paired samples of histologically normal tissue adjacent to the cancers as well as control reduction mammoplasty samples from unaffected women. The DNA regions studied were promoters (BRCA1, CD44, ESR1, GSTM2, GSTP1, MAGEA1, MSI1, NFE2L3, RASSF1A, RUNX3, SIX3 and TFF1), far-upstream regions (EN1, PAX3, PITX2, and SGK1), introns (APC, EGFR, LHX2, RFX1 and SOX9) and the LINE-1 and satellite 2 DNA repeats. These choices were based upon previous literature or publicly available DNA methylome profiles. The percent methylation was averaged across neighboring CpG sites.
RESULTS: Most of the assayed gene regions displayed hypermethylation in cancer vs. adjacent tissue but the TFF1 and MAGEA1 regions were significantly hypomethylated (p ≤0.001). Importantly, six of the 16 regions examined in a large collection of patients (105 - 129) and in 15-18 reduction mammoplasty samples were already aberrantly methylated in adjacent, histologically normal tissue vs. non-cancerous mammoplasty samples (p ≤0.01). In addition, examination of transcriptome and DNA methylation databases indicated that methylation at three non-promoter regions (far-upstream EN1 and PITX2 and intronic LHX2) was associated with higher gene expression, unlike the inverse associations between cancer DNA hypermethylation and cancer-altered gene expression usually reported. These three non-promoter regions also exhibited normal tissue-specific hypermethylation positively associated with differentiation-related gene expression (in muscle progenitor cells vs. many other types of normal cells). The importance of considering the exact DNA region analyzed and the gene structure was further illustrated by bioinformatic analysis of an alternative promoter/intron gene region for APC.
CONCLUSIONS: We confirmed the frequent DNA methylation changes in invasive breast cancer at a variety of genome locations and found evidence for an extensive field effect in breast cancer. In addition, we illustrate the power of combining publicly available whole-genome databases with a candidate gene approach to study cancer epigenetics.

Ueda K, Hosokawa M, Iwakawa S
Cellular Uptake of Decitabine by Equilibrative Nucleoside Transporters in HCT116 Cells.
Biol Pharm Bull. 2015; 38(8):1113-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
DNA hypermethylation, an epigenetic change that silences gene expression without altering nucleotide sequences, plays a critical role in the formation and progression of colorectal cancers as well as in the acquisition of drug resistance. Decitabine (DAC), a DNA methyltransferase 1 inhibitor of nucleoside analogues, has been shown to restore gene expression silenced by hypermethylation. In the present study, the mechanisms underlying both uridine and DAC uptake were examined in the human colon cancer cell line HCT116. Real-time polymerase chain reaction analysis revealed that ENT1 mRNA was the most abundant among the nucleoside transporters examined in HCT116 cells. The ENT1 protein was detected in the membrane fraction, as determined by Western blotting. The uptake of uridine or DAC was time- and concentration-dependent, but also Na(+)-independent. The uptake of these agents was inhibited by S-(4-nitrobenzyl)-6-thioinosine (NBMPR), an inhibitor of equilibrative nucleoside transporters (ENTs), and was also decreased in cells treated with ENT1 small interfering RNA. The uptake of both uridine and DAC was inhibited by uridine, cytidine, adenosine, or inosine, while that of DAC was also inhibited by thymidine. The expression of MAGEA1 mRNA, the DNA of which was methylated in HCT116 cells, was increased by DAC treatment, and this increment was attenuated by concomitant treatment with NBMPR. The IC50 value of DAC was also increased in the presence of NBMPR. These results suggest that DAC is mainly taken up by ENT1 and that this uptake is one of the key determinants of the activity of DAC in HCT116 cells.

Krishnadas DK, Shusterman S, Bai F, et al.
A phase I trial combining decitabine/dendritic cell vaccine targeting MAGE-A1, MAGE-A3 and NY-ESO-1 for children with relapsed or therapy-refractory neuroblastoma and sarcoma.
Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2015; 64(10):1251-60 [PubMed] Related Publications
Antigen-specific immunotherapy was studied in a multi-institutional phase 1/2 study by combining decitabine (DAC) followed by an autologous dendritic cell (DC)/MAGE-A1, MAGE-A3 and NY-ESO-1 peptide vaccine in children with relapsed/refractory solid tumors. Patients aged 2.5-15 years with relapsed neuroblastoma, Ewing's sarcoma, osteosarcoma and rhabdomyosarcoma were eligible to receive DAC followed by DC pulsed with overlapping peptides derived from full-length MAGE-A1, MAGE-A3 and NY-ESO-1. The primary endpoints were to assess the feasibility and tolerability of this regimen. Each of four cycles consisted of week 1: DAC 10 mg/m(2)/day for 5 days and weeks 2 and 3: DC vaccine once weekly. Fifteen patients were enrolled in the study, of which 10 were evaluable. Generation of DC was highly feasible for all enrolled patients. The treatment regimen was generally well tolerated, with the major toxicity being DAC-related myelosuppression in 5/10 patients. Six of nine patients developed a response to MAGE-A1, MAGE-A3 or NY-ESO-1 peptides post-vaccine. Due to limitations in number of cells available for analysis, controls infected with a virus encoding relevant genes have not been performed. Objective responses were documented in 1/10 patients who had a complete response. Of the two patients who had no evidence of disease at the time of treatment, one remains disease-free 2 years post-therapy, while the other experienced a relapse 10 months post-therapy. The chemoimmunotherapy approach using DAC/DC-CT vaccine is feasible, well tolerated and results in antitumor activity in some patients. Future trials to maximize the likelihood of T cell responses post-vaccine are warranted.

Shida A, Futawatari N, Fukuyama T, et al.
Frequent High Expression of Kita-Kyushu Lung Cancer Antigen-1 (KK-LC-1) in Gastric Cancer.
Anticancer Res. 2015; 35(6):3575-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The tumor-associated antigen Kita-Kyushu lung cancer antigen-1 (KK-LC-1) has been reported as not being expressed in normal tissues, except for the testis, and in the setting of non-small cell lung cancer. The present study demonstrated that KK-LC-1 is expressed in gastric cancer.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: We analyzed the expression of KK-LC-1 and cancer/testis antigens (CTAs) in surgical specimens of 49 gastric carcinomas. The expression of KK-LC-1 and CTAs was assessed using reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction.
RESULTS: KK-LC-1 expression was observed in gastric carcinomas. The number of lesions with expression of KK-LC-1, Melanoma antigen gene encoding-A1 (MAGE-A1), MAGE-A3 and New York Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma-1 (NY-ESO-1) was 40 (81.6%), 17 (34.7%), 22 (44.9%) and 8 (16.3%) out of the 49 specimens, respectively.
CONCLUSION: KK-LC-1 should be categorized as a CTA. The frequency of KK-LC-1 expression was higher than that of the other CTAs. KK-LC-1 might be a useful target for immunotherapy and in diagnosis of gastric cancer.

Zamunér FT, Karia BT, de Oliveira CZ, et al.
A Comprehensive Expression Analysis of Cancer Testis Antigens in Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma Revels MAGEA3/6 as a Marker for Recurrence.
Mol Cancer Ther. 2015; 14(3):828-34 [PubMed] Related Publications
Despite significant advances in the treatment of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), the survival rate has not changed in the last decades. Therefore, the development of novel therapeutic strategies is pursued. Cancer-testis antigens (CTA) are strong immunogenic proteins with a tumor-restricted expression pattern, and are considered ideal targets for tumor-specific immunotherapeutic approaches. In this study, using an in silico approach, we selected, among 139 previously described CTA, candidates to be evaluated in 89 HNSCC and 20 normal mucosa samples. SPANX-CD (71.9%), MAGEB2 (44.9%), MAGEA1 (44.9%), MAGEB6 (32.6%), and CXORF48 (27.0%) were found frequently expressed in HNSCC, and over 85% of the tumors expressed at least one of these five CTAs. The mRNA positivity of CXORF48, MAGEB6, and CRISP2 presented significant associations with recognized clinical features for poor outcome. Furthermore, MAGEA3/6 positivity was associated with significantly better disease-free survival (DFS, P = 0.014), and the expression of this antigen was shown to be an independent prognostic factor for tumor recurrence. In conclusion, one of five selected CTAs is expressed in at least 85% of the HNSCCs, suggesting a possible usage as target for immunotherapeutic approaches, and the mRNA-positivity for MAGEA3/6 is shown to be an independent marker for DFS.

Bahnassy AA, Zekri AR, El-Bastawisy A, et al.
Circulating tumor and cancer stem cells in hepatitis C virus-associated liver disease.
World J Gastroenterol. 2014; 20(48):18240-8 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
AIM: To assess the role of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) and cancer stem cells (CSCs) in hepatitis C virus (HCV)-associated liver disease.
METHODS: Blood and/or tissue samples were obtained from HCV (genotype 4)-associated hepatocellular carcinoma patients (HCC; n = 120), chronic hepatitis C patients (CH; n = 30) and 33 normal control subjects (n = 33). Serum levels of alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), alkaline phosphatase, and alanine and aspartate aminotransferases were measured. Cytokeratin 19 (CK19) monoclonal antibody was used to enumerate CTCs, and CD133 and CD90 were used to enumerate CSCs by flow cytometry. The expression levels of the CSCs markers (CD133 and CD90) as well as telomerase, melanoma antigen encoding gene 1 (MAGE1) and MAGE3 were assessed by RT-PCR and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reactions. The number of CTCs and/or the expression levels of CK19, CD133, telomerase, MAGE1 and MAGE3 were correlated to the standard clinicopathologic prognostic factors and disease progression.
RESULTS: Levels of AFP, alkaline phosphatase and aspartate aminotransferase were significantly different among the HCC, CH and control groups (P < 0.001), whereas alanine aminotransferase differed significantly between patient (HCC and CH) and control groups (P < 0.001). At the specified cutoff values determine by flow cytometry, CK19 (49.8), CD90 (400) and CD133 (73) were significantly higher in the blood of HCC patients compared to those in the CH and control groups (P < 0.001). On the other hand, CD133 at a 69.5 cutoff was significantly higher in the CH compared to the control group (P ≤ 0.001). Telomerase, MAGE1 and MAGE3 RNA were expressed in 55.71%, 60.00% and 62.86% of the HCC patients, respectively, but were not detected in patients in the CH or control groups, which were statistically significant (Ps < 0.001). The expression levels of telomerase, CD90, MAGE3, CD133 and CK19 were all significantly associated with high tumor grade and advanced stage in HCC patients (all Ps < 0.05).
CONCLUSION: CTC counts and AFP, CK19, telomerase, and MAGE1/MAGE3 expression predict disease progression in patients with HCV, whereas telomerase, MAGE3, CD90, CD133 and CK19 are prognostic markers in HCC.

Abd-Elsalam EA, Ismaeil NA
Melanoma-associated antigen genes: a new trend to predict the prognosis of breast cancer patients.
Med Oncol. 2014; 31(11):285 [PubMed] Related Publications
MAGE-A are normally expressed in testis and placenta. Among MAGEs, the MAGE-A subtype has been the most characterized in cancers. Our study was conducted to assess the expression of (MAGE-A1-MAGE-A6) m-RNA using MMRPs and MAGE-A12 m-RNA in blood for evaluating their clinical implications in breast cancer patients. RT-PCR was carried out to detect the expression of (MAGE-A1-MAGE-A6) m-RNA using MMRPs and MAGE-A12 m-RNA in blood. The study included 100 breast cancer cases aged 41-62 years and 100 controls aged 36-53 years. MAGE m-RNA expression was not detected in healthy donors. In breast cancer patients, the positivity of (MAGE-A1-MAGE-A6) m-RNA was 44 % (44 cases), while MAGE-A12 m-RNA was expressed in 13 % (13 cases). The gene expressions of MAGE-A1-A6 and MAGE-A12 were significantly associated with advanced TNM stages (P = 0.001 and 0.034, respectively). Simultaneous estimation of the gene expressions of MAGE-A1-A6 and MAGE-A12 can detect occult hematogenous dissemination of tumor cells and may help to monitor the effectiveness of the therapy and the development of effective immunotherapeutic strategies in breast cancer.

Grah JJ, Katalinic D, Juretic A, et al.
Clinical significance of immunohistochemical expression of cancer/testis tumor-associated antigens (MAGE-A1, MAGE-A3/4, NY-ESO-1) in patients with non-small cell lung cancer.
Tumori. 2014 Jan-Feb; 100(1):60-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
AIMS AND BACKGROUND: This paper deals with the clinical significance of the immunohistochemical expression of MAGE-A1, MAGE-A3/4 and NY-ESO-1 antigens in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
METHODS AND STUDY DESIGN: The study included 80 patients with NSCLC (40 with adenocarcinoma, 40 with squamous cell carcinoma) who had undergone surgery. MAGE-A1 and MAGE-A3/4 antigen expression was determined by an immunohistochemical method using the monoclonal antibody 57B, and NY-ESO-1 antigen expression was determined with the addition of the B9.8.1.1 antibody. The expression of these antigens was compared with the clinicopathological features of the tumors and the survival of the patients.
RESULTS: MAGE-A1, MAGE-A3/4 and NY-ESO-1 were expressed in 17.3%, 44.4% and 18.5% of NSCLC patients, respectively. A statistically higher immunohistological expression rate of MAGE-A3/4 was found in squamous cell carcinoma (P <0.001) and a significantly higher amount of tumor necrosis was observed in tumors with MAGE-3 expression (P = 0.001), but no correlation with positive lymph nodes was found. There was a statistically significant correlation between MAGE-A1 expression in adenocarcinoma and the presence of tumor necrosis (P = 0.05). Furthermore, there was a significant correlation between NY-ESO-1 expression and positive lymph nodes in adenocarcinoma, but not in squamous cell carcinoma. No statistically significant difference in patient survival was found with regard to tumor type and the observed histopathological characteristics except tumor size. Statistically significantly better survival was found in the group of patients with adenocarcinomas who had positive expression of MAGE-A3/4 (P = 0.012).
CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrated that the expression of MAGE-A3/4 antigen might be a valuable prognostic factor regarding survival in patients with NSCLC.

Hemminger JA, Toland AE, Scharschmidt TJ, et al.
Expression of cancer-testis antigens MAGEA1, MAGEA3, ACRBP, PRAME, SSX2, and CTAG2 in myxoid and round cell liposarcoma.
Mod Pathol. 2014; 27(9):1238-45 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Myxoid and round-cell liposarcoma is a frequently encountered liposarcoma subtype. The mainstay of treatment remains surgical excision with or without chemoradiation. However, treatment options are limited in the setting of metastatic disease. Cancer-testis antigens are immunogenic antigens with the expression largely restricted to testicular germ cells and various malignancies, making them attractive targets for cancer immunotherapy. Gene expression studies have reported the expression of various cancer-testis antigens in liposarcoma, with mRNA expression of CTAG1B, CTAG2, MAGEA9, and PRAME described specifically in myxoid and round-cell liposarcoma. Herein, we further explore the expression of the cancer-testis antigens MAGEA1, ACRBP, PRAME, and SSX2 in myxoid and round-cell liposarcoma by immunohistochemistry in addition to determining mRNA levels of CTAG2 (LAGE-1), PRAME, and MAGEA3 by quantitative real-time PCR. Samples in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded blocks (n=37) and frozen tissue (n=8) were obtained for immunohistochemistry and quantitative real-time PCR, respectively. Full sections were stained with antibodies to MAGEA1, ACRBP, PRAME, and SSX2 and staining was assessed for intensity (1-2+) and percent tumor positivity. The gene expression levels of CTAG2, PRAME, and MAGEA3 were measured by quantitative real-time PCR. In total, 37/37 (100%) of the samples showed predominantly strong, homogenous immunoreactivity for PRAME. There was a variable, focal expression of MAGEA1 (11%) and SSX2 (16%) and no expression of ACRBP. Quantitative real-time PCR demonstrated PRAME and CTAG2 transcripts in all eight samples: six tumors with high mRNA levels; two tumors with low mRNA levels. The gene expression of MAGEA3 was not detected in the majority of cases. In conclusion, myxoid and round-cell liposarcomas consistently express PRAME by immunohistochemistry as well as CTAG2 and PRAME by qualitative real-time PCR. This supports the use of cancer-testis antigen-targeted immunotherapy in the treatment of this malignancy.

Hudolin T, Kastelan Z, Ilic I, et al.
Immunohistochemical analysis of the expression of MAGE-A and NY-ESO-1 cancer/testis antigens in diffuse large B-cell testicular lymphoma.
J Transl Med. 2013; 11:123 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Primary testicular lymphoma (PTL) is a rare and lethal disease. The most common histological subtype is diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). Standard treatments are frequently ineffective. Thus, the development of novel forms of therapy is urgently required. Specific immunotherapy generating immune responses directed against antigen predominantly expressed by cancer cells such as cancer-testis antigens (CTA) may provide a valid alternative treatment for patients bearing PTL, alone or in combination with current therapies.
METHODS: Three monoclonal antibodies (mAbs), 77B recognizing MAGE-A1, 57B recognizing an epitope shared by multiple MAGE-A CTA (multi-MAGE-A specific) and D8.38 recognizing NY-ESO-1/LAGE-1 were used for immunohistochemical staining of 27 PTL, including 24 DLBCL.
RESULTS: Expression of MAGE-A1 was infrequently detectable in DLBCL specimens (12.50%), whereas multi-MAGE-A and NY-ESO-1/LAGE-1 specific reagents stained the cytoplasms of tumor cells in DLBCL specimens with higher frequencies (54.17% and 37.50%, respectively) with different expression levels.
CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that MAGE-A and NY-ESO-1/LAGE-1, possibly in combination with other CTA, might be used as targets for specific immunotherapy in DLBCL.

Lee HS, Kim SW, Hong JC, et al.
Expression of MAGE A1-6 and the clinical characteristics of papillary thyroid carcinoma.
Anticancer Res. 2013; 33(4):1731-5 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The expression of melanoma-associated antigen (MAGE) gene has been studied in many types of cancer. In the present study we evaluated the correlation between MAGE expression and the clinical features and oncologic outcomes of patients with papillary thyroid cancer (PTC).
MATERIALS AND METHODS: We performed a retrospective review of 85 patients who underwent surgery for PTC and analysis of their tumor tissue by nested reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) with the MAGE common primer to detect the MAGE A1-6 gene. The associations between MAGE expression and clinical characteristics were analyzed.
RESULTS: Expression of MAGE A1-6 in PTC was identified in 31 patients (36.5%). Only papillary thyroid microcarcinoma (PTMC) was significantly related to MAGE expression in our univariate analysis (p=0.002) and multivariate analysis (p=0.006). MAGE had no significant impact on survival.
CONCLUSION: Expression of MAGE A1-6 in PTC is significantly correlated with the presence of PTMC. Our study suggests that MAGE expression may be related to early-stage PTC.

Cannuyer J, Loriot A, Parvizi GK, De Smet C
Epigenetic hierarchy within the MAGEA1 cancer-germline gene: promoter DNA methylation dictates local histone modifications.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(3):e58743 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Gene MAGEA1 belongs to a group of human germline-specific genes that rely on DNA methylation for repression in somatic tissues. Many of these genes, termed cancer-germline (CG) genes, become demethylated and activated in a wide variety of tumors, where they encode tumor-specific antigens. The process leading to DNA demethylation of CG genes in tumors remains unclear. Previous data suggested that histone acetylation might be involved. Here, we investigated the relative contribution of DNA methylation and histone acetylation in the epigenetic regulation of gene MAGEA1. We show that MAGEA1 DNA hypomethylation in expressing melanoma cells is indeed correlated with local increases in histone H3 acetylation (H3ac). However, when MAGEA1-negative cells were exposed to a histone deacetylase inhibitor (TSA), we observed only short-term activation of the gene and detected no demethylation of its promoter. As a more sensitive assay, we used a cell clone harboring a methylated MAGEA1/hph construct, which confers resistance to hygromycin upon stable re-activation. TSA induced only transient de-repression of the transgene, and did not lead to the emergence of hygromycin-resistant cells. In striking contrast, transient depletion of DNA-methyltransferase-1 in the reporter cell clone gave rise to a hygromycin-resistant population, in which the re-activated MAGEA1/hph transgene displayed not only marked DNA hypomethylation, but also significant reversal of histone marks, including gains in H3ac and H3K4me2, and losses of H3K9me2. Collectively, our results indicate that DNA methylation has a dominant role in the epigenetic hierarchy governing MAGEA1 expression.

Hartmann S, Kriegebaum U, Küchler N, et al.
Efficacy of cetuximab and panitumumab in oral squamous cell carcinoma cell lines: prognostic value of MAGE-A subgroups for treatment success.
J Craniomaxillofac Surg. 2013; 41(7):623-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Over-expression of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) has been observed in a variety of epithelial tumours. The selective inhibition of the associated signalling pathway using monoclonal antibodies appears to be a promising therapeutic target. Individual differences in response rates, particularly against highly selective chemotherapeutic agents, underline the need for further research of the molecular basis of this process. Previously described resistance mechanisms are not able to explain all refractory responses. Several subgroups of the melanoma-associated antigens (MAGE) tumour antigens were described in connection with regulatory functions relating to the cell cycle and chemosensitivity.
METHODS: In the present study, five cell lines of human squamous cell carcinomas were treated with cetuximab and panitumumab (0.01-100 μg/ml) over a period of 24 or 48 h. The efficacy of the agents used was measured dynamically using real-time cell analysis (RTCA). Subsequently, the expression levels of MAGE-A1, -A5, -A8, -A9, -A11 and -A12 were determined by RT-qPCR. A correlation between chemosensitivity and MAGE-A expression was investigated.
RESULTS: The tumour cell lines exhibited a very low overall response to the chemotherapy drugs. Only one cell line showed a cytostatic effect after treatment with cetuximab and panitumumab. This effect, however, was significant only for panitumumab. The expression of MAGE-A12 was significantly associated with greater efficacy of panitumumab. The expression of MAGE-A5 and -A8 was associated with poorer response rates after panitumumab treatment. Due to an insignificant effect of cetuximab on the number of viable cells, no correlation with the MAGE-A levels was observed.
CONCLUSION: For the first time, these results show a correlation between the efficacies of EGFR inhibitors and various MAGE-A subgroups in the treatment of HNSCC. Determining the MAGE-A status could help to improve the success of anti-tumour drug therapy. In addition, evaluating MAGE-A levels might be an important tool in the development of patient-specific treatment protocols.

Bhan S, Chuang A, Negi SS, et al.
MAGEA4 induces growth in normal oral keratinocytes by inhibiting growth arrest and apoptosis.
Oncol Rep. 2012; 28(4):1498-502 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cancer testis antigens (CTAs) are proteins that are normally expressed only in male germ cells and are aberrantly upregulated in a variety of cancers such as melanomas and lung cancer. MAGEA proteins belong to Class I CTAs and are being utilized as targets for cancer immunotherapy. Despite the discovery of the first CTA (MAGEA1) 20 years ago, the functions of these proteins remain poorly understood and evidence suggests both oncogenic as well as tumor suppressive roles for these proteins. Herein, we investigated the role of MAGEA4 in promoting cell growth. When overexpressed, MAGEA4 promotes growth of spontaneously transformed normal oral keratinocytes (NOK-SI). To understand the mechanism of growth stimulation by MAGEA4, we explored the effect of overexpressing MAGEA4 on cell cycle and apoptosis. MAGEA4 inhibits growth arrest of cells in the G1 phase of the cell cycle. We also found that overexpression of MAGEA4 inhibits G418-induced apoptosis of NOK-SI cells. Interestingly, this inhibition was accompanied by repression of two p53 downstream genes, BAX and CDKN1A. Our results indicate that MAGEA4 promotes growth by preventing cell cycle arrest and by inhibiting apoptosis mediated by the p53 transcriptional targets.

Park JH, Do NY, Han SI, Lim SC
Usefulness of the melanoma antigen gene (MAGE) in making the differential diagnosis between pleomorphic adenoma and adenoid cystic carcinoma.
J Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2012; 41(1):20-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to examine the clinical usefulness of the melanoma antigen gene (MAGE) in making the differential diagnosis between pleomorphic adenoma (PA) and adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC). In addition, using real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), we examined which melanoma antigen gene was actually expressed in each tumour.
MATERIALS AND METHOD: Immunohistochemical staining was performed on samples of paraffin-embedded tissue specimens. Fifty-eight patients were diagnosed as PA (n  =  31), ACC (n  =  17), and nontumoral salivary tissue (n  =  10) using MAGEA and MAGEA4. Using primers that could express MAGEA1, -A2, -A3, -A4, -A6, -A10, and -A12 subtypes, real-time RT-PCR was performed in three cases of PA and four cases of ACC that occurred in fresh tissues.
RESULT: We found no immunohistochemical expression of MAGEA or MAGEA4 in the nontumoral tissue. There was a mild degree of expression with no statistical significance in cases of PA. In ACC, however, in 17 cases (100%) and 16 cases (95%), there was a positive reaction to MAGEA and MAGEA4, respectively. In the RT-PCR analysis, PA showed no MAGE gene expression. However, both MAGEA3 and MAGEA4 were expressed in ACC.
CONCLUSION: These results suggest that MAGE could be used as a biologic marker in the differential diagnosis between PA and ACC. Our results also indicate that the expression of MAGE, as confirmed in the RT-PCR analysis, could be used as an alternative method for the early diagnosis of salivary gland tumours.

Pereira CM, Gomes CC, De Fátima Correia Silva J, et al.
Evaluation of MAGE A1 in oral squamous cell carcinoma.
Oncol Rep. 2012; 27(6):1843-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
MAGE A1 is a cancer testis antigen (CTA) described in a variety of human cancers. CTAs exhibit a highly restricted tissue expression and by virtue of their immunogenic potential, these genes are promising target molecules for cancer vaccines. DNA hypomethylation is associated with gene regulation in several types of tumours. The aim of this project was to identify the presence of MAGE A1 in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) samples and to investigate the hypomethylation profile of CpG islands situated in the promoter region of this gene. The expression of MAGE A1 in OSCC and healthy oral mucosal samples was determined by real-time quantitative and conventional endpoint PCR and also by immunohistochemistry staining. In addition, to investigate the hypomethylation profile of promoter MAGE A1 CpG islands, we performed bisulphite sequencing. Real-time quantitative and endpoint PCR assays demonstrated a lower level of MAGE A1 transcription. Endpoint PCR showed expression of MAGE A1 in 10% (2/20) of OSCCs. Sodium bisulphite sequencing analysis of MAGE A1 CpG islands did not reveal a difference between OSCC and normal oral mucosal samples. We further assessed MAGE A1 protein immunoexpression and found 80% (16/20) of immunopositivity in OSCCs. We did not observe a correlation between the presence of MAGE A1 protein and lower levels of transcripts. Identification of MAGE A1 protein in OSCCs and absence of immunoexpression in normal oral mucosa support the idea that this protein can be used as a biomarker for detection of OSCC; however, it is not associated with hypomethylation or high expression of the MAGE A1 gene.

Cucuruz B, Dango S, Jurinovic V, et al.
MAGE qPCR improves the sensitivity and accuracy of EBUS-TBNA for the detection of lymphatic cancer spread.
J Thorac Oncol. 2012; 7(4):690-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: Microscopic examination of histologic slides or cytologic specimens of mediastinal lymph node samples obtained by diagnostic mediastinoscopy or endobronchial ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration (EBUS-TBNA) is routinely used for the staging of lung cancer patients. Therefore, we explored whether the detection of tumor-associated mRNA in lymph node samples from patients with suspected lung cancer adds diagnostic accuracy to conventional histopathological staging.
METHODS: We examined 202 lymph nodes obtained by EBUS-TBNA or mediastinoscopy from 89 patients with lung cancer. Lymph node samples from patients with nonmalignant disease were available as controls (60 samples from 31 patients). Real-time quantitative mRNA analysis was performed for melanoma antigen-A genes (MAGE-A 1-6, MAGE-A 12) using a LightCycler 480 instrument.
RESULTS: MAGE transcript levels in control and cancer patients differed widely, and the 95% confidence interval served to define the threshold between negative and positive samples. MAGE 1 to 6 transcripts were detected in 35 of 122 (28.7%) lymph nodes obtained by EBUS-TBNA and 16 of 80 (20.0%) lymph nodes obtained by mediastinoscopy. MAGE 12 transcripts were detected in 10 of 122 (8.2%) lymph nodes obtained by EBUS-TBNA and 9 of 80 (11.3%) lymph nodes obtained by mediastinoscopy. Although the accuracy of histopathological diagnosis after EBUS-TBNA and mediastinoscopy was 69.6% and 84.1%, respectively, it increased to 81.2% and 86.4%, respectively, when combined with MAGE-quantitative polymerase chain reaction.
CONCLUSIONS: The combination of EBUS-TBNA and MAGE-quantitative polymerase chain reaction increases the accuracy of tumor cell detection to the level seen with mediastinoscopy.

Shin KC, Choi EY, Chung JH, et al.
Clinical application of MAGE A1-6 RT-nested PCR for diagnosis of lung cancer invisible by bronchoscopy.
Anticancer Res. 2012; 32(1):163-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The main goal of this study was to evaluate the diagnostic efficacy of melanoma-associated antigen (MAGE) A1-6 reverse transcriptase-nested polymerase chain reaction (RT-nested PCR) of bronchial washing fluid for the detection of lung cancer invisible by bronchoscopy.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: To determine the expression of MAGE A1-6 gene in 75 lung carcinomas diagnosed by conventional fluoroscopy-guided lung biopsy and 58 cancer-free controls, RT-nested PCR was performed of bronchial washing fluid. MAGE A1-6 RT-nested PCR data was analyzed according to tumor histology, stage, size, and compared with cytological data.
RESULTS: MAGE A1-6 RT-nested PCR displayed higher sensitivity (64.0%) than that of conventional cytology (14.7%). There was no significant correlation between MAGE gene expression and histological types or clinical stage. For tumor size, detection rates were 74.0% in tumor smaller than 3 cm and 58.7% in these larger than 3 cm.
CONCLUSIONS: MAGE A1-6 RT-nested PCR of bronchial washing fluid may be a useful method for diagnosis of peripheral lung cancer in clinical practice.

Shin KC, Lee KH, Lee CH, et al.
MAGE A1-A6 RT-PCR and MAGE A3 and p16 methylation analysis in induced sputum from patients with lung cancer and non-malignant lung diseases.
Oncol Rep. 2012; 27(4):911-6 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The melanoma antigen gene (MAGE) A1-A6 RT-PCR system was developed for the detection of lung cancer cells in the sputum. However, we identified MAGE expression in some patients with non-malignant lung diseases. To understand these patterns of MAGE expression, we performed MAGE A3 methylation-specific PCR (MSP) and p16 MSP. We collected 24 biopsy specimens of lung cancer tissue and performed MAGE A1-A6 RT-PCR, MAGE A3 MSP and p16 MSP. RNA and DNA were simultaneously extracted from induced sputum specimens of 133 patients with lung diseases and 30 random sputum specimens of healthy individuals and the 3 molecular analyses were performed. The patients were diagnosed as 65 cases of lung cancer and 68 of benign lung diseases. Positive rates of MAGE A1-A6 RT-PCR, MAGE A3 MSP and p16 MSP were as follows: in lung cancer tissue, 87.5, 58.3 and 70.8%; in the sputum of lung cancer patients, 50.8, 46.2 and 63.1%; benign lung diseases, 10.3, 30.9 and 39.7%; and healthy individuals, 3.3, 6.7 and 3.3%. Of the 40 MAGE-positive cases, 33 were diagnosed with lung cancer and 7 as having benign lung diseases. From the 7 cases of MAGE-positive benign lung diseases, 6 cases showed methylation abnormalities. The MAGE-positive group revealed significantly higher rates of methylation abnormalities. Of the 40 MAGE-positive cases, 39 cases were found to be lung cancer or benign lung diseases with abnormal methylation. Thus, MAGE expression in the sputum suggests the presence of lung cancer cells or pre-cancerous cells.

Goodyear OC, Pearce H, Pratt G, Moss P
Dominant responses with conservation of T-cell receptor usage in the CD8+ T-cell recognition of a cancer testis antigen peptide presented through HLA-Cw7 in patients with multiple myeloma.
Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2011; 60(12):1751-61 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cancer testis antigens exhibit physiological expression within germ cells and are frequently expressed in malignant tissue. Interestingly, immunological tolerance to cancer testis proteins does not appear to be established, and the expression of CTAg proteins within malignant cells can therefore lead to induction of cellular and humoral immunity. A considerable body of evidence now indicates that CD8-specific immunity plays an important role in the control of cancer cell growth, and a number of vaccine studies are in progress to boost CTAg-specific cellular immune responses. We have previously identified CTAg-specific immune responses in patients with multiple myeloma and reported that recognition of the MAGE-A1(289-298) peptide, which is described as being restricted by HLA-B*0702, was the most frequent response seen with our peptide panel. Here, we studied seven CD8+ T-cell clones specific for this peptide which were isolated from three patients with myeloma at several time-points. The affinity of peptide recognition was high with 50% maximal interferon-γ production observed at a peptide concentration of 10(-10) M and variation of only one order of magnitude between the affinities of the clones. Importantly, all the clones were able to recognise and kill multiple myeloma cell lines. Interestingly, one patient did not express HLA-B*0702, but three clones from this patient recognised the MAGE-A1(289-298) peptide on a lymphoblastoid cell line (LCLs) expressing HLA-Cw7, and we now show evidence that the MAGE-A1(289-298) peptide is expressed and recognised through Cw7. The T-cell receptor gene usage was determined in five clones and showed conserved features in both the α and the β chain genes indicating correlation between T-cell receptor usage and peptide specificity of cancer testis antigen-specific T-cell clones.

Karn T, Pusztai L, Ruckhäberle E, et al.
Melanoma antigen family A identified by the bimodality index defines a subset of triple negative breast cancers as candidates for immune response augmentation.
Eur J Cancer. 2012; 48(1):12-23 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Molecular markers displaying bimodal expression distribution can reveal distinct disease subsets and may serve as prognostic or predictive markers or represent therapeutic targets. Oestrogen (ER) and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) receptors are strongly bimodally expressed genes in breast cancer.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: We applied a novel method to identify bimodally expressed genes in 394 triple negative breast cancers (TNBC). We identified 133 bimodally expressed probe sets (128 unique genes), 69 of these correlated to previously reported metagenes that define molecular subtypes within TNBC including basal-like, molecular-apocrine, claudin-low and immune cell rich subgroups but 64 probe sets showed no correlation with these features.
RESULTS: The single most prominent functional group among these uncorrelated genes was the X chromosome derived Cancer/Testis Antigens (CT-X) including melanoma antigen family A (MAGE-A) and Cancer/Testis Antigens (CTAG). High expression of CT-X genes correlated with worse survival in multivariate analysis (HR 2.02, 95% CI 1.27-3.20; P=0.003). The only other significant variable was lymph node status. The poor prognosis of patients with high MAGE-A expression was ameliorated by the concomitant high expression of immune cell metagenes (HR 1.87, 95% CI 0.96-3.64; P=0.060), whereas the same immune metagene had lesser prognostic value in TNBC with low MAGE-A expression.
CONCLUSIONS: MAGE-A antigen defines a very aggressive subgroup of TNBC; particularly in the absence of immune infiltration in the tumour microenvironment. These observations suggest a therapeutic hypothesis; TNBC with MAGE-A expression may benefit the most from further augmentation of the immune response. Novel immune stimulatory drugs such as (anti-cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen-4 CTLA-4) directed therapies provide a realistic opportunity to directly test this hypothesis in the clinic.

Rao M, Chinnasamy N, Hong JA, et al.
Inhibition of histone lysine methylation enhances cancer-testis antigen expression in lung cancer cells: implications for adoptive immunotherapy of cancer.
Cancer Res. 2011; 71(12):4192-204 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Cancer-testis antigens (CTA), such as NY-ESO-1, MAGE-A1, and MAGE-A3, are immunogenic proteins encoded by genes, which are normally expressed only in male germ cells but are activated by ill-defined epigenetic mechanisms in human tumors, including lung cancers. Previously, we reported induction of these CTAs in cancer cells, but not normal cells, by DNA-demethylating agents and histone deacetylase inhibitors using clinically achievable exposure conditions. In the present study, we evaluated chromatin alterations associated with repression/activation of cancer-testis genes in lung cancer cells to further develop gene-induction regimens for cancer immunotherapy. Repression of NY-ESO-1, MAGE-A1, and MAGE-A3 coincided with DNA hypermethylation, recruitment, and binding of polycomb-group proteins, and histone heterochromatin modifications within the promoters of these genes. Derepression coincided with DNA demethylation, dissociation of polycomb proteins, and presence of euchromatin marks within the respective promoters. Short hairpin RNAs were used to inhibit several histone methyltransferases (KMT) and histone demethylases (KDM) that mediate histone methylation and repress gene expression. Knockdown of KMT6, KDM1, or KDM5B markedly enhanced deoxyazacytidine (DAC)-mediated activation of these cancer-testis genes in lung cancer cells. DZNep, a pharmacologic inhibitor of KMT6 expression, recapitulated the effects of KMT6 knockdown. Following DAC-DZNep exposure, lung cancer cells were specifically recognized and lysed by allogeneic lymphocytes expressing recombinant T-cell receptors recognizing NY-ESO-1 and MAGE-A3. Combining DNA-demethylating agents with compounds, such as DZNep, that modulate histone lysine methylation may provide a novel epigenetic strategy to augment cancer-testis gene expression as an adjunct to adoptive cancer immunotherapy.

Yanagawa N, Tamura G, Oizumi H, et al.
MAGE expressions mediated by demethylation of MAGE promoters induce progression of non-small cell lung cancer.
Anticancer Res. 2011; 31(1):171-5 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The MAGE gene encodes cancer/testis antigens that are recognized on melanoma cells by autologous cytolytic T lymphocytes. These genes are expressed in various tumor cells, but not in healthy tissues except for the testis and placenta. MAGE expression is known to be activated by promoter demethylation.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: The expression of MAGE-A1 and -A3 and promoter methylation of MAGE-A1 and -A3 was investigated in 67 non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) specimens and their correlation with clinicopathological parameters was elucidated.
RESULTS: Expression of MAGE-A1 and -A3 was detected in 29.9% and 38.8% of the cases. Demethylation of MAGE-A1 and -A3 was detected in 41.8% and 46.3% of the cases. In 18 (of 20) cases, MAGE-A1 expression showed demethylation of MAGE-A1 and in 24 (of 26) cases MAGE-A3 expression showed demethylation of MAGE-A3. The patients with MAGE expression had a worse prognosis than those with no MAGE expression.
CONCLUSION: MAGE expression mediated by demethylation of MAGE promoters is associated with aggressive progression of NSCLC.

Corbière V, Chapiro J, Stroobant V, et al.
Antigen spreading contributes to MAGE vaccination-induced regression of melanoma metastases.
Cancer Res. 2011; 71(4):1253-62 [PubMed] Related Publications
A core challenge in cancer immunotherapy is to understand the basis for efficacious vaccine responses in human patients. In previous work we identified a melanoma patient who displayed a low-level antivaccine cytolytic T-cell (CTL) response in blood with tumor regression after vaccination with melanoma antigens (MAGE). Using a genetic approach including T-cell receptor β (TCRβ) cDNA libraries, we found very few antivaccine CTLs in regressing metastases. However, a far greater number of TCRβ sequences were found with several of these corresponding to CTL clones specific for nonvaccine tumor antigens, suggesting that antigen spreading was occurring in regressing metastases. In this study, we found another TCR belonging to tumor-specific CTL enriched in regressing metastases and detectable in blood only after vaccination. We used the TCRβ sequence to detect and clone the desired T cells from tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes isolated from the patient. This CD8 clone specifically lysed autologous melanoma cells and displayed HLA-A2 restriction. Its target antigen was identified as the mitochondrial enzyme caseinolytic protease. The target antigen gene was mutated in the tumor, resulting in production of a neoantigen. Melanoma cell lysis by the CTL was increased by IFN-γ treatment due to preferential processing of the antigenic peptide by the immunoproteasome. These results argue that tumor rejection effectors in the patient were indeed CTL responding to nonvaccine tumor-specific antigens, further supporting our hypothesis. Among such antigens, the mutated antigen we found is the only antigen against which no T cells could be detected before vaccination. We propose that antigen spreading of an antitumor T-cell response to truly tumor-specific antigens contributes decisively to tumor regression.

Weeraratne SD, Amani V, Neiss A, et al.
miR-34a confers chemosensitivity through modulation of MAGE-A and p53 in medulloblastoma.
Neuro Oncol. 2011; 13(2):165-75 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Recent studies have established miR-34a as a key effector of the p53 signaling pathway and have implicated its role in multiple cancer types. Here, we establish that miR-34a induces apoptosis, G2 arrest, and senescence in medulloblastoma and renders these cells more sensitive to chemotherapeutic agents. These effects are mediated in part by the direct post-transcriptional repression of the oncogenic MAGE-A gene family. We demonstrate that miR-34a directly targets the 3' untranslated regions of MAGE-A genes and decreases MAGE-A protein levels. This decrease in MAGE-A results in a concomitant increase in p53 and its associated transcriptional targets, p21/WAF1/CIP1 and, importantly, miR-34a. This establishes a positive feedback mechanism where miR-34a is not only induced by p53 but increases p53 mRNA and protein levels through the modulation of MAGE-A genes. Additionally, the forced expression of miR-34a or the knockdown of MAGE-A genes by small interfering RNA similarly sensitizes medulloblastoma cells to several classes of chemotherapeutic agents, including mitomycin C and cisplatin. Finally, the analysis of mRNA and micro-RNA transcriptional profiles of a series of primary medulloblastomas identifies a subset of tumors with low miR-34a expression and correspondingly high MAGE-A expression, suggesting the coordinate regulation of these genes. Our work establishes a role for miR-34a in modulating responsiveness to chemotherapy in medulloblastoma and presents a novel positive feedback mechanism involving miR-34a and p53, via direct targeting of MAGE-A.

Ogata K, Aihara R, Mochiki E, et al.
Clinical significance of melanoma antigen-encoding gene-1 (MAGE-1) expression and its correlation with poor prognosis in differentiated advanced gastric cancer.
Ann Surg Oncol. 2011; 18(4):1195-203 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Melanoma antigen-encoding gene-1 (MAGE-1), a cancer/testis antigen, has been reported to be expressed in various types of cancer. We investigated the clinicopathological features and prognostic significance of MAGE-1 expression in advanced gastric cancer (AGC).
METHODS: Immunohistochemical staining for MAGE-1 was performed on surgical specimens obtained from 135 patients with AGC.
RESULTS: Positive expression of MAGE-1 detected in cytoplasm was observed in 44 of 135 cases (32.6%) in primary tumors and 26 of 96 (27.1%) in lymph node metastases. In noncancerous gastric tissues, apparent MAGE-1 expression was not detected. MAGE-1 in primary tumor was correlated with advanced age (P < 0.001), macroscopic infiltrated type (P = 0.035), and presence of vascular invasion (P = 0.027). The 5-year cancer-specific survival rates of AGC patients with positive MAGE-1 expression were significantly lower than those of patients with negative MAGE-1 (positive: 31.6%, negative: 57.6%, P = 0.038). On multivariate analysis, MAGE-1 expression was not an independent prognostic predictor of AGC (P = 0.064). In differentiated AGC patients, MAGE-1 expression was correlated with advanced age (P = 0.003), macroscopic infiltrated type (P = 0.009), and presence of lymph node metastasis (P = 0.033). The cancer-specific survival rates of differentiated AGC patients with positive MAGE-1 were significantly lower than those of patients with negative MAGE-1 (P = 0.003). Positive MAGE-1 expression was an independent prognostic factor of differentiated AGC patients on multivariate analysis (P = 0.031).
CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that MAGE-1 protein expression can serve as a predictive marker of poor prognosis in differentiated AGC patients.

Caballero OL, Zhao Q, Rimoldi D, et al.
Frequent MAGE mutations in human melanoma.
PLoS One. 2010; 5(9) [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Cancer/testis (CT) genes are expressed only in the germ line and certain tumors and are most frequently located on the X-chromosome (the CT-X genes). Amongst the best studied CT-X genes are those encoding several MAGE protein families. The function of MAGE proteins is not well understood, but several have been shown to potentially influence the tumorigenic phenotype.
METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We undertook a mutational analysis of coding regions of four CT-X MAGE genes, MAGEA1, MAGEA4, MAGEC1, MAGEC2 and the ubiquitously expressed MAGEE1 in human melanoma samples. We first examined cell lines established from tumors and matching blood samples from 27 melanoma patients. We found that melanoma cell lines from 37% of patients contained at least one mutated MAGE gene. The frequency of mutations in the coding regions of individual MAGE genes varied from 3.7% for MAGEA1 and MAGEA4 to 14.8% for MAGEC2. We also examined 111 fresh melanoma samples collected from 86 patients. In this case, samples from 32% of the patients exhibited mutations in one or more MAGE genes with the frequency of mutations in individual MAGE genes ranging from 6% in MAGEA1 to 16% in MAGEC1.
SIGNIFICANCE: These results demonstrate for the first time that the MAGE gene family is frequently mutated in melanoma.

George RE, Lahti JM, Adamson PC, et al.
Phase I study of decitabine with doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide in children with neuroblastoma and other solid tumors: a Children's Oncology Group study.
Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2010; 55(4):629-38 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Demethylating agents may alter the expression of genes involved in chemotherapy resistance. We conducted a phase I trial to determine the toxicity and molecular effects of the demethylating agent, decitabine, followed by doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide in children with refractory solid tumors.
PROCEDURE: Stratum A included children with any solid tumor; Stratum B included neuroblastoma patients only. Patients received a 1-hr decitabine infusion for 7 days, followed by doxorubicin (45 mg/m(2)) and cyclophosphamide (1 g/m(2)) on day 7. Pharmacokinetic studies were performed after the first dose of decitabine. Biological studies included methylation and gene expression analyses of caspase-8, MAGE-1 and fetal hemoglobin (HbF), and expression profiling of pre- and post-treatment peripheral blood and bone marrow cells.
RESULTS: The maximum-tolerated dose of decitabine was 5 mg/m(2)/day for 7 days. Dose-limiting toxicities at 10 mg/m(2)/day were neutropenia and thrombocytopenia. Decitabine exhibited rapid clearance from plasma. Three of 9 patients in Stratum A and 4/12 patients in Stratum B had stable disease for > or = 4 months. Sustained MAGE-1 demethylation and increased HbF expression were observed in the majority of patients post-treatment (12/20 and 14/16, respectively). Caspase-8 promoter demethylation and gene expression were seen in 2/7 bone marrow samples. Differentially expressed genes were identified by microarray analysis.
CONCLUSION: Low-dose decitabine when combined with doxorubicin/cyclophosphamide has tolerable toxicity in children. However, doses of decitabine capable of producing clinically relevant biologic effects were not well tolerated with this combination. Alternative strategies of combining demethylating agents with non-cytotoxic, biologically targeted agents such as histone deacetylase inhibitors should be explored.

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