Serum levels of cytoplasmic melanoma-associated antigen at diagnosis may predict clinical relapse in neuroblastoma patients

Fabio Morandi, Maria Valeria Corrias, Isabella Levreri, Paola Scaruffi, Lizzia Raffaghello, Barbara Carlini, Paola Bocca, Ignazia Prigione, Sara Stigliani, Loredana Amoroso, Soldano Ferrone, Vito Pistoia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The high molecular weight melanoma-associated antigen (HMW-MAA) and the cytoplasmic melanoma-associated antigen (cyt-MAA/LGALS3BP) are expressed in melanoma. Their serum levels are increased in melanoma patients and correlate with clinical outcome. We investigated whether these molecules can serve as prognostic markers for neuroblastoma (NB) patients. Expression of cyt-MAA and HMW-MAA was evaluated by flow cytometry in NB cell lines, patients' neuroblasts (FI-NB), and short-term cultures of these latter cells (cNB). LGALS3BP gene expression was evaluated by RT-qPCR on FI-NB, cNB, and primary tumor specimens. Soluble HMW-MAA and cyt-MAA were tested by ELISA. Cyt-MAA and HMW-MAA were expressed in NB cell lines, cNB, and FI-NB samples. LGALS3BP gene expression was higher in primary tumors and cNB than in FI-NB samples. Soluble cyt-MAA, but not HMW-MAA, was detected in NB cell lines and cNBs supernatants. NB patients' serum levels of both antigens were higher than those of the healthy children. High cyt-MAA serum levels at diagnosis associated with higher incidence of relapse, independently from other known risk factors. In conclusion, both HMW-MAA and cyt-MAA antigens, and LGALS3BP gene, were expressed by NB cell lines and patients' neuroblasts, and both antigens' serum levels were increased in NB patients. Elevated serum levels of cyt-MAA at diagnosis correlated with relapse, supporting that cyt-MAA may serve as early serological biomarker to individuate patients at higher risk of relapse that may require a more careful follow-up, after being validated in a larger cohort of patients at different time-points during follow-up. Given its immunogenicity, cyt-MAA may also be a potential target for NB immunotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1485-1495
Number of pages11
JournalCancer Immunology, Immunotherapy
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011


  • Clinical relapse
  • Cytoplasmic melanoma-associated antigen
  • Neuroblastoma
  • Serum biomarkers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology
  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy


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