Isolation of MUC1-primed B lymphocytes from tumour-draining lymph nodes by immunomagnetic beads

Claudia Petrarca, Beniamino Casalino, Silvia Von Mensdorff-Pouilly, Aurelia Rughetti, Hassan Rahimi, Giovanni Scambia, Joseph Hilgers, Luigi Frati, Marianna Nuti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The humoral immune response against a tumour-associated antigen, polymorphic epithelial mucin (PEM, MUC1) in cancer patients was studied by isolating specific B cells primed for the antigen. Human B lymphocytes from tumour-draining lymph nodes, obtained from 12 patients with epithelial cancers, were immunoselected with magnetic beads coated with a 60mer synthetic peptide corresponding to three tandem repeats of the protein core of the MUC1 antigen. Short-term cultures of B cells were established utilizing interleukin-10 (IL-10), IL-4 and monoclonal antibody anti-CD40, and were maintained for a maximum of 3 weeks. B cell culture supernatants contained human anti-MUC1 antibodies, as detected by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, in 6/12 of the patients tested. Five of these patients, all with early-stage cancer, also had high levels of circulating anti-MUC1 IgM antibodies in the serum. A significant correlation was found (two-tailed P = 0.041) between the presence of circulating anti-MUC1 antibodies and the ability to isolate PEM-specific B cells from tumour-draining lymph nodes. The technique proposed provides a useful method for the analysis of natural immunity against defined tumour antigens.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)272-277
Number of pages6
JournalCancer Immunology, Immunotherapy
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • B lymphocytes
  • Immune response
  • Lymph nodes
  • MUC1
  • Polymorphic epithelial mucin
  • Tumour-associated antigen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Immunology
  • Oncology


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