Immunologic and Biochemical Studies on the Carcinoembryonic Antigen-Like Substance in Human Neuroblastoma

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Abstract

Summary

Several authors have observed that the plasma levels of carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) in patients with neuroblastoma were significantly elevated. The present study was undertaken to investigate the nature of CEA activity in neuroblastoma tissue. This tumor tissue contains a small amount of CEA-like substance reacting with anti-CEA serum which is characterized by γ-globulin electrophoretic mobility, a molecular weight that is approximately equal to that of albumin (4.6S) by gel filtration, and a glycoprotein staining with periodic acid-Schiff (PAS). According to the double immunodiffusion method, this antigen is partially identical to purified CEA of colon carcinoma, and is completely identical to nonspecific crossreacting antigen (NCA). This antigen is, therefore, referred to not as the CEA as described by Gold, but as NCA in neuroblastoma tissue. The elevation of plasma CEA activity in patients with neuroblastoma may be due to the release of NCA from tumor cells, or to the destruction tissues by metastasis, of normal which are rich in NCA, or to a combination of both.

Speculation

The slight but significant elevation of plasma CEA activity in patients with neuroblastoma may be due to the release of NCA from tumor cells, or to the destruction by metastasis of normal tissues, or to a combination of both.

Speculation

Since the plasma CEA activity assay is of little value for early diagnosis of neuroblastoma, another new immunologic method for early diagnosis in neuroblastoma might be expected from the standpoint of a tumor-specific antigen of neuroblastoma.

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