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Keywords:

  • antigen;
  • glioma;
  • immune response

Glioma constitutes the most frequent brain tumour in man with glioblastoma as the most prevalent and malignant type. The average survival time of less than 16 months underlines the need for improvements in diagnosis and therapy. Here, we report the identification of a novel antigen termed glioma-expressed antigen 2 (GLEA2) causing a frequent immune response in glioma patients. Screening of 450 000 clones from a glioblastoma lambda zap expression library with autologous patient serum revealed a group of five serum-positive clones sharing a high sequence homology. Further sequence analysis showed a sequence homology to a hepatocellular carcinoma associated antigen 58 (HCA58). We localized the novel HCA homologous gene termed glioma-expressed antigen 2 (GLEA2) on chromosome 20 by somatic cell hybrid panel mapping. Using allogenic sera from 39 glioblastoma patients, we found an immune response against GLEA2 in 17 patients (43%). In addition, screening with allogenic sera from other glioma patients revealed GLEA2 directed antibodies in two out of five pilocytic astrocytomas and in one out of two astrocytomas. Unrelated tumour sera revealed no immune response and sera from healthy persons showed an immune response in two out of 14 cases (14%). Northern blot hybridization and RT-PCR showed ubiquitous GLEA2 gene expression in glioma and normal tissues. The novel HCA homologous gene, GLEA2, appears to induce a frequent immune response in glioma. In the light of the lack of useful glioma markers, it appears reasonable to consider GLEA2 as a potential future diagnostic marker.