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Gene of the month: cancer testis antigen gene 1b (NY-ESO-1)
  1. Max Julve1,
  2. Oliver Kennedy2,
  3. Adam Enver Frampton1,3,
  4. Izhar Bagwan4,
  5. Mark P Lythgoe1
  1. 1Department of Surgery and Cancer, Imperial College London, London, UK
  2. 2Faculty of Medical Sciences, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
  3. 3Section of Oncology, Deptartment of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, FHMS, University of Surrey, Guildford, UK
  4. 4Department of Cellular Pathology, Royal Surrey Hospital, Guildford, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Max Julve, Department of Surgery and Cancer, Imperial College London, London SW7 2BX, UK; maximilian.julve{at}


Cancer testis antigen gene 1B (CTAG1B) and its associated gene product; New York oesophageal squamous carcinoma 1 (NY-ESO-1), represent a unique and promising target for cancer immunotherapy. As a member of the cancer testis antigen family (CTA), the protein’s restricted expression pattern and ability to elicit spontaneous humoural and cellular immune responses has resulted in a plethora of novel modalities and approaches attempting to harness its immunotherapeutic anti-cancer potential. Here, we discuss the structure and function of CTAG1B/NY-ESO-1 in both health and disease, immunohistochemical detection, as well as the most promising advances in the development of associated anti-cancer therapies. From cancer vaccines to engineered cellular therapy approaches, a multitude of immunotherapies targeting CTA’s are coming to the forefront of oncology. Although the efficacy of such approaches have yet to provide convincing evidence of durable response, early phase clinical trial data has resulted in some exciting findings which will have significant potential to act as a platform for future practice changing technologies.


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  • Handling editor Runjan Chetty.

  • Twitter @JulveMAx, @Adam_Frampton1, @mlythoe

  • Contributors Conceptualisation: MJ, AEF, MPL. Literature search: MJ, OK and MPL. Drafting manuscript: all authors. Revising manuscript after journal review: all authors. Submission: MJ, MPL.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.