Pregnancy-specific glycoprotein expression in normal gastrointestinal tract and in tumors detected with novel monoclonal antibodies

Aileen Houston, John M. Williams, Tihana Lenac Rovis, Daniel K. Shanley, Ronan T. O’Riordan, Patrick A. Kiely, Melanie Ball, Orla P. Barry, Jacquie Kelly, Aine Fanning, John MacSharry, Ofer Mandelboim, Bernhard B. Singer, Stipan Jonjic, Tom Moore*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


ABSTRACT: Pregnancy-specific glycoproteins (PSGs) are immunoglobulin superfamily members related to the carcinoembryonic antigen-related cell adhesion molecule (CEACAM) family and are encoded by 10 genes in the human. They are secreted at high levels by placental syncytiotrophoblast into maternal blood during pregnancy, and are implicated in immunoregulation, thromboregulation, and angiogenesis. To determine whether PSGs are expressed in tumors, we characterized 16 novel monoclonal antibodies to human PSG1 and used 2 that do not cross-react with CEACAMs to study PSG expression in tumors and in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract using tissue arrays and immunohistochemistry. Staining was frequently observed in primary squamous cell carcinomas and colonic adenocarcinomas and was correlated with the degree of tumor differentiation, being largely absent from metastatic samples. Staining was also observed in normal oesophageal and colonic epithelium. PSG expression in the human and mouse GI tract was confirmed using quantitative RT-PCR. However, mRNA expression was several orders of magnitude lower in the GI tract compared to placenta. Our results identify a non-placental site of PSG expression in the gut and associated tumors, with implications for determining whether PSGs have a role in tumor progression, and utility as tumor biomarkers.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)491-500
Number of pages10
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2 Apr 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • Carcinoembryonic antigen
  • Oesphagus
  • PSG1
  • colon
  • colonic adenocarcinoma
  • monoclonal antibody
  • placenta
  • pregnancy-specific glycoprotein
  • squamous cell carcinoma
  • squamous epithelium
  • trophoblast


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