Interferon α enhances expression of TAG-72 and carcinoembryonic antigen in patients with primary colorectal cancer

D. M. Mahvi*, J. A. Madsen, P. L. Witt, P. M. Sondel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Interferons up-regulate the expression of human tumor-associated antigens in animal models and in vitro. The use of interferons may enhance the immunodetection and immunotherapy of tumors by monoclonal antibodies that detect tumor antigens. For this strategy to be effective, however, the interferon must have an effect at the site of the tumor. In this study, the induction by interferon α (IFNα) of two tumor surface antigens was evaluated in six patients with primary colorectal cancer. Patients were treated with IFNα and 48 h later underwent resection of the tumor. The interferon treatment induced expression of a tumor-associated glycoprotein (TAG-72) in two patients without antigen expression prior to interferon but had no effect on one TAG-72-negative tumor. IFNα did not induce expression of carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) in the two patients whose tumors were CEA-negative prior to interferon. In all patients with heterogeneous expression of CEA and TAG-72 prior to IFNα treatment, preoperative interferon increased the percentage of cells positive for CEA in two patients and TAG-72 in one patient. This study supports the addition of interferon induction to immunotherapy regimens directed at the CEA and TAG-72 cell-surface antigens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)311-314
Number of pages4
JournalCancer Immunology Immunotherapy
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 1995


  • CEA
  • Interferon α
  • TAG-72
  • Tumor-associated antigens

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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