ECSA/DPPA2 is an Embryo-Cancer Antigen that Is Coexpressed with Cancer-Testis Antigens in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Academic Article uri icon


  • PURPOSE: Cancer cells recapitulate many behaviors of pluripotent embryonic cells such as unlimited proliferation, and the capacity to self-renew and to migrate. Embryo-cancer sequence A (ECSA), later named developmental pluripotency associated-2 (DPPA2), is an embryonic gene initially isolated from pluripotent human preimplantation embryos. We hypothesized that ECSA/DPPA2 would be quiescent in most normal tissues but expressed in cancers and may therefore be a useful target for immunotherapy. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: ECSA/DPPA2 expression was examined in a panel of normal and tumor tissue by reverse transcription PCR, quantitative real-time PCR, and immunohistochemistry. A panel of 110 non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC) were further investigated for the presence of ECSA/DPPA2 transcripts and several cancer testis antigens (CTA). Sera from 104 patients were analyzed for spontaneous ECSA/DPPA2 antibody production by ELISA and Western blot. RESULTS: ECSA/DPPA2 transcripts were limited to normal testis, placenta, bone marrow, thymus, and kidney but expressed in a variety of tumors most notably in 30% of NSCLC. Enrichment for CTAs in ECSA/DPPA2-positive NSCLC was observed. Immunohistochemistry confirmed nuclear and cytoplasmic localization in subpopulations of cells with coexpression of the CTA MAGE-A3. Antibodies to recombinant ECSA/DPPA2 protein were detected in the sera of 4 of 104 patients with NSCLC but not in healthy controls. CONCLUSIONS: The restricted expression in normal tissues, expression in tumors with coexpression of CTAs, and spontaneous immunogenicity indicate that ECSA/DPPA2 is a promising target for antigen-specific immunotherapy in NSCLC.


  • John, T
  • Caballero, OL
  • Svobodova, SJ
  • Kong, A
  • Chua, R
  • Browning, J
  • Fortunato, S
  • Deb, S
  • Hsu, M
  • Gedye, CA
  • Davis, ID
  • Altorki, N
  • Simpson, AJ
  • Chen, Y-T
  • Monk, M
  • Cebon, JS

publication date

  • June 1, 2008