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Cancers 2011, 3(3), 3073-3103;

Natural and Induced Humoral Responses to MUC1

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, VU University Medical Center, De Boelelaan 1117, Amsterdam 1081 HV, The Netherlands
Department of Woman & Baby, Division of Surgical & Oncological Gynaecology, University Medical Center Utrecht, Heidelberglaan 100, Utrecht 3508 GA, The Netherlands
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 July 2011 / Revised: 25 July 2011 / Accepted: 26 July 2011 / Published: 29 July 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Vaccines and Immunotherapy)
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MUC1 is a membrane-tethered mucin expressed on the ductal cell surface of glandular epithelial cells. Loss of polarization, overexpression and aberrant glycosylation of MUC1 in mucosal inflammation and in adenocarcinomas induces humoral immune responses to the mucin. MUC1 IgG responses have been associated with a benefit in survival in patients with breast, lung, pancreatic, ovarian and gastric carcinomas. Antibodies bound to the mucin may curb tumor progression by restoring cell-cell interactions altered by tumor-associated MUC1, thus preventing metastatic dissemination, as well as counteracting the immune suppression exerted by the molecule. Furthermore, anti-MUC1 antibodies are capable of effecting tumor cell killing by antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity. Although cytotoxic T cells are indispensable to achieve anti-tumor responses in advanced disease, abs to tumor-associated antigens are ideally suited to address minimal residual disease and may be sufficient to exert adequate immune surveillance in an adjuvant setting, destroying tumor cells as they arise or maintaining occult disease in an equilibrium state. Initial evaluation of MUC1 peptide/glycopeptide mono and polyvalent vaccines has shown them to be immunogenic and safe; anti-tumor responses are scarce. Progress in carbohydrate synthesis has yielded a number of sophisticated substrates that include MUC1 glycopeptide epitopes that are at present in preclinical testing. Adjuvant vaccination with MUC1 glycopeptide polyvalent vaccines that induce strong humoral responses may prevent recurrence of disease in patients with early stage carcinomas. Furthermore, prophylactic immunotherapy targeting MUC1 may be a strategy to strengthen immune surveillance and prevent disease in subjects at hereditary high risk of breast, ovarian and colon cancer. View Full-Text
Keywords: natural humoral response; anti-MUC1 antibodies; MUC1-based vaccines; immunotherapy; cancer natural humoral response; anti-MUC1 antibodies; MUC1-based vaccines; immunotherapy; cancer

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Von Mensdorff-Pouilly, S.; Moreno, M.; Verheijen, R.H.M. Natural and Induced Humoral Responses to MUC1. Cancers 2011, 3, 3073-3103.

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