Meningiomas are the most common primary intracranial tumors. Surgical resection remains the treatment of choice for these tumors. However, a significant number of tumors are not surgically accessible, recur, or become malignant, necessitating the repetition of surgery and sometimes radiation. Chemotherapy is rarely used and is generally not recognized as an effective treatment. Cancer/testis (CT) genes represent a unique class of genes, which are expressed by germ cells, normally silenced in somatic cells, but activated in various cancers. CT proteins can elicit spontaneous immune responses in patients with cancer and this feature makes them attractive targets for immunotherapy-based approaches. We analyzed mRNA expression of 37 testis-restricted CT genes in a discovery set of 18 meningiomas by reverse transcription PCR. The overall frequency of expression of CT genes ranged from 5.6% to 27.8%. The most frequently expressed was NY-ESO-1, in 5 patients (27.8%). We subsequently analyzed NY-ESO-1 protein expression in a larger set of meningiomas by immunohistochemistry and found expression in 108 of 110 cases. In some cases, NY-ESO-1 expression was diffused and homogenous, but in most instances it was heterogeneous. Importantly, NY-ESO-1 expression was positively correlated with higher grade and patients presenting with higher levels of NY-ESO-1 staining had significantly worse disease-free and overall survival. We have also shown that NY-ESO-1 expression may lead to humoral immune response in patients with meningioma. Considering the limited treatment options for patients with meningioma, the potential of NY-ESO-1-based immunotherapy should be explored.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research