MAGEA3 Marker Function in Breast Cancer Patients Sentinel Node Evaluation

There have been attempts to detect occult cancer cells by RT-PCR, with tyrosinase in malignant melanoma cases and with MAGE-A3 in breast cancer cases.

Whereas many approaches to RT-PCR detection are limited by poor specificity, MAGE-A3 seems to be a highly specific tumor mRNA-marker, which is not expressed in noncancer cells.

In recent investigations by Wascher et al. (2001), 77 AJCC stage I-IIIa breast cancer cases were analyzed. The results of this study are summarized in Table 3.

MAGE-A3 mRNA expression in the SLN occurred more frequently with infiltrating lobular carcinomas than with infiltrating ductal carcinomas (P <0.001). Use of MAGE-A3 mRNA in the development of antigen-specific targeted immu-notherapy has been planned. Basically, it is beset by the same difficulties as tyrosinase RT-PCR evaluations in SLN material from patients with malignant melanomas.

It is possible that the tumor marker MAGE-A4 is not derived exclusively from vital melanoma cells, but can also be present in apoptotic or ne-crotic melanoma cells.

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