Introduction: Melanoma-associated antigen 1 (MAGE1) expression in normal tissues is restricted to the testes, whilst being over-expressed in a number of human cancers. This feature of MAGE1 makes it a promising cancer biomarker. This study aimed to determine the expression of MAGE1 in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and its relationship with clinicopathological factors.

Methods: This is a cross-sectional study conducted on pretreatment endoscopic tissue specimens of 43 patients with non-metastatic esophageal SCC, admitted to Omid Hospital, Mashhad, Iran, between 2011 and 2013. Out of 127 esophageal SCC patients who had already enrolled in a trial of trimodality therapy, we chose 43 patients whose paraffin blocks of endoscopic samples were accessible, which we then stained for MAGE1 expression by immunohistochemistry. Correlation of MAGE1expression and clinicopathological data (age, sex, stage, grade, and outcome) was assessed using SPSS 16 by T test, chi-square, and Pearson tests (p <0.05 was considered significant).

Results: MAGE1 was expressed in 46.5% (20 out of 43) of esophageal SCC specimens. The MAGE1 nuclear staining increased significantly by age; its expression for <40, 41-49, 50-59, 60-69, and ≥70 years old was 0%, 0%, 8.3%, 26.3%, and 100%, respectively (p=0.02; Person’s R value = 0.3 and p=0.04). There was no significant correlation between MAGE1 expression and other clinicopathological parameters.

Conclusion: MAGE1 antigen has considerable expression in the esophageal SCC among the Iranian population; it can be potentially applied as a cancer biomarker as well as a target for immunotherapy in patients with esophageal SCC.


Keywords: Cancer Testis Antigen, Melanoma-associated antigen 1, Esophageal cancer, Squamous cell carcinoma
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