Advances in novel tumor-associated antigen (TAA) screening strategy have accelerated the identification and characterization of biomarkers and potential target molecules for tumor subtyping, diagnosis and therapeutics, which may facilitate early detection and diagnosis of the diseases individually and enhance treatment approaches for cancer. Over the past decades, a plethora of non-invasive methodologies dedicated to identify novel target molecules have been primarily focusing on the discovery of human tumor antigens recognized by the autologous antibody repertoire or cytotoxic T lymphocytes, among which serological analysis of recombinant cDNA expression libraries (SEREX) technology is chronologically first established and is of outstanding sensitivity and antigen coverage. This approach involves immunoscreening cDNA libraries extracted from fresh tumor tissues with sera from cancer patients to identify gene products recognized by IgG antibody. SEREX-defined clones can be directly sequenced and their expression profiles can be readily determined, allowing for immediate structural definition of the antigenic target and subsequent identification of TAAs and their cognate autoantibodies. This review is not only devoted to outline the SEREX technology and its advantages, drawbacks and recent modifications currently available for discovering provocative tumor antigens, but also to translate these SEREX-defined peptides into valuable cancer-specific signatures that would aid in the development of diagnostics, prognostics and therapeutics for cancer patients.
Keywords: High throughput, SEREX, tumor antigens, biomarkers, target molecules, detection, diseases, recombinant cDNA, IgG antibody, clones, immune system, malignant cells, proteins, transformed cells, ELISAs, antigens, epitopes, T-cells, serum, expressed sequence tag
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