NY-ESO-1 expression in ovarian cancer linked with decreased overall survival

By Paul Basilio, MDLinx
Published April 27, 2017

Key Takeaways

Patients who have expression of the tumor antigen NY-ESO-1 have more aggressive cancers and are more likely to die early from their disease, according to a new study from Roswell Park Cancer Institute Researchers recently published in the journal Gynecologic Oncology.

In normal tissue, NY-ESO-1 is one of the few tumor antigens that has restricted expression. However, in epithelial ovarian cancers and other solid tumors, it becomes aberrantly expressed.

In this study, more than 1,000 patients with ovarian cancer were tested at Roswell Park for NY-ESO-1 expression from January 2002 to June 2016. Median age at diagnosis was 61 years—most patients had stage IIIC or IV disease at the time of diagnosis.

Investigators found that NY-ESO-1 expression was associated with shorter duration of progression-free survival (22 months vs 25 months) and overall survival (42 months vs 50 months).

“This is the largest study of NY-ESO-1 expression in ovarian cancer patients, and the first time that expression of this antigen has been identified as a marker for more aggressive disease,” according to J. Brian Szender, MD, MPH, the study’s first author and Fellow in the Department of Gynecologic Oncology at Roswell Park.

During the study, a total of 68 patients with ovarian cancer with NY-ESO-1-positive tumors were enrolled for cancer vaccine trials that targeted the tumor antigen. Those with tumors that expressed NY-ESO-1 and who received the vaccine trials had significantly improved overall survival when compared those who did not participate in the trial and those without NY-ESO-1-expressing tumors.

“We suggest that NY-ESO-1 be a high-priority target for future immunotherapy studies, given the high prevalence of NY-ESO-1 expression in ovarian cancer and the association of this tumor antigen with adverse clinical outcomes,” says Kunle Odunsi, MD, PhD, FRCOG, Deputy Director of Roswell Park and Chair of the Department of Gynecologic Oncology. “It is possible that in the coming years, NY-ESO-1 expression in ovarian cancer will be as important to the treating oncologist as HER2 expression is for the treatment of breast cancer.”

The research was supported, in part, by grants from the Cancer Research Institute/Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, Roswell Park Alliance Foundation and National Institutes of Health.

To read the study, visit http://www.gynecologiconcology-online.net/.

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