Some antigenic proteins are only normally present in male gametogenic tissues in the testis and not in normal somatic cells. When the genes that encode these proteins are expressed in cancerous cells they are referred to as cancer/testis antigen (CTA) genes. Some CTA genes have been proven to encode immunogenic proteins that have been used as successful immunotherapy targets for various forms of cancer. Thus, there has been a focus over the past two decades to characterise their potential applications for the treatment and/or diagnosis of cancer. Colorectal cancer is among the most common forms of cancer and a leading cause of cancer related death worldwide. It is generally regarded as having low levels of CTA gene expression, compared to some other cancers such as malignant melanoma. There is now scope to revisit this dogma, as an ill-defined cohort of colorectal cancers do exhibit CTA gene expression, potentially exposing these tumours to CTA-based therapeutic and/or diagnostic strategies as they are developed. Cancer/Testis Antigens and Colorectal Cancer: Sammut J, Wakeman JA, Stuart N and McFarlane RJ.
Last date updated on June, 2014