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Clinical and Developmental Immunology
Volume 2010, Article ID 721531, 8 pages
Review Article

Prognostic and Diagnostic Value of Spontaneous Tumor-Related Antibodies

Department of Oncology, Hematology, Stem Cell Transplantation with the section Pneumology, University Cancer Center Hamburg (Hubertus Wald Tumorzentrum), University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, 20246 Hamburg, Germany

Received 30 June 2010; Revised 11 October 2010; Accepted 29 November 2010

Academic Editor: Richard L. Gallo

Copyright © 2010 Sebastian Kobold et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


There is an urgent need for earlier diagnosis of malignancies and more stringent monitoring of relapses after antitumor therapy. In addition, new prognostic markers are needed for risk stratification and design of individualized cancer therapies. New diagnostic and prognostic parameters should overcome the impairments of current standards in a cost-effective manner. Serological approaches measuring spontaneous antibody responses against tumor-associated antigens could be of use as diagnostic and prognostic markers and could also be employed to evaluate response to therapy in cancer patients. Autoantibodies have been suggested to be of frequent and specific occurrence in patients with malignancies and to correlate with clinical parameters. Screening the relevant literature on this topic, we suggest that the analysis of single antibody specificities is unlikely to provide sufficient diagnostic and prognostic accuracy. The combined analysis of autoantibodies targeting different antigens, however, may reach high sensitivity and specificity. In addition, screening cancer patients for autoantibodies might identify subgroups with high relapse risk and a worse prognosis. Larger prospective trials should be initiated to identify sets of tumor-associated autoantibodies suited for the use in diagnostic algorithms for cancer detection and followup.