Combined use of oligonucleotide and tissue microarrays identifies cancer/testis antigens as biomarkers in lung carcinoma
High density oligonucleotide microarrays (OMAs) have been used recently to profile gene expression in lung carcinoma tissue homogenates. The length of the lists of potentially interesting genes generated by these studies is daunting, and biological and clinical relevance of these lists remains to be validated. Moreover, specific identification of individual biomarkers that might be used for early detection and surveillance has not been the objective of these early studies. We have developed a
... have developed a schema for combining the data derived from the OMA analysis of a few lung cancer cell lines with immunohistochemical testing of tissue microarrays to rapidly identify biomarkers of potential clinical relevance. Initially, we profiled gene expression in lung tumor cell lines using the Affymetrix HG-U95Av2 OMA. RNA from 2 non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cell lines (A549 and H647) and 2 small cell lung cancer (SCLC) cell lines (SHP-77 and UMC-19) were tested. Cells from 1 histologically and cytogenetically normal bronchial epithelial primary culture from a volunteer who had never smoked and 10 samples of histologically unremarkable lung tissue from resection specimens served as normalization controls. Array results were analyzed with Gene Spring software. Results were confirmed by reverse transcription-PCR in an expanded number of cell lines. We then validated the cell line data by immunohistochemical testing for protein using a tissue microarray containing 187 NSCLC clinical samples. Of the 20 most highly expressed genes in the tumor lines, 6 were members of the cancer/testis antigen (CTAG) gene group including 5 MAGE-A subfamily members and NY-ESO-1. SCLC lines strongly expressed all of the MAGE-A genes as well as NY-ESO-1, whereas NSCLC lines expressed a subset of MAGE-A genes at a lower level of intensity and failed to express NY-ESO-1. Reverse transcription-PCR of an extended series of 25 lung cancer cell lines including 13 SCLC, 9 NSCLC, and 3 mesothelioma lines indicated that MAGE-A10 and NY-ESO-1 were expressed only by SCLC, and that MAGE-A1, 3, 6, 12, and 4b were expressed by both SCLC and NSCLC. By immunohistochemistry using the monoclonal antibody 6C1 that recognizes several MAGE-A gene subfamily members, 44% of NSCLC clearly expressed MAGE-A proteins in cytoplasm and/or nucleus. Expression of MAGE-A genes did not correlate with survival but did correlate with histological classification with squamous carcinomas more frequently MAGE-A positive than other NSCLC types (P < 0.00002). We conclude that expression of CTAG gene products, whereas apparently not of prognostic importance, may be useful for early detection and surveillance because of a high level of specificity for central airway squamous and small cell carcinomas.