Summary And Perspectives

CENP-F is a novel proliferation-associated and cell cycle-regulated nuclear protein whose unique subcellular distribution is indicative of an important role in mitosis. The observation that CENP-F is the target of a vigorous IgG autoantibody response in some cancer patients points to this protein as a potential cancer-associated autoantigen. It should be cautioned, however, that since autoantibodies to CENP-F appear to be rare in unselected cancer populations, one can not rule out the possibility that autoimmunity to this protein might be associated with yet to be identified clinical- or therapy-associated conditions shared by CENP-F antibody-positive patients. Multicenter studies on the clinical associations of anti-CENP-F autoantibodies, involving a significant number of CENP-F antibody-positive patients, will be essential to fully understand the significance of the high frequency of malignancy currently observed in patients producing these antibodies. Assessment of the expression, structural integrity, and functional activity of CENP-F in normal and tumor tissues should also provide important information regarding the potential role of this protein in malignant transformation.

Finally, it is important to emphasize that cancer serology is entering a new and exciting era. The realization that human tumors provoke autoantibody responses against self-proteins expressed in the tumors opens the door to large scale screenings of cancer sera for the presence of autoantibodies to potentially oncogenic novel proteins. Identification and characterization of these cancer-associated autoantigens will be valuable not only for increasing our understand ing of the molecular basis of malignant transformation, but also for the development of cancer vaccines based on immunization with self-peptides and aimed at enhancing immune responses to tumors.

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