Cohen, Zoë Department of Blood Transfusion Medicine Research, Saint Michael's Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Chu, T. Ming Roswell Park Memorial Institute, Buffalo, New York.
Last reviewed:August 2021
- Alpha fetoprotein
- Birth defects
- Carcinoembryonic antigen
- Cancer prognosis
- Cancer treatment response
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
A small protein or carbohydrate (capable of stimulating an immune response) that is present in normal fetal tissue during early development, but also is abnormally expressed by adult tumors. Oncofetal antigens (see illustration), primarily glycoprotein in nature and produced by cancerous cells, are the products of one or more genes that normally are expressed only during fetal development and then are repressed in adult life. Production of these proteins in association with cancer as a result of activation of control genes, by unknown mechanisms, has been termed retrogenetic expression. Advances in tumor immunology have enabled the use of oncofetal antigens in both the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. In particular, fetal antigens in adult body fluids can serve as tumor markers for the detection of early oncogenic processes and can aid in monitoring the efficiency of cancer treatments. In addition, the analysis of oncofetal antigens has been important in the development of new treatment modalities. It also is important to mention that oncofetal antigens are different from tumor-associated antigens, which are found only in tumors and have no role in development. See also: Antigen; Cancer; Gene; Glycoprotein; Immunology; Oncology; Tumor
The content above is only an excerpt.
for your institution. Subscribe
To learn more about subscribing to AccessScience, or to request a no-risk trial of this award-winning scientific reference for your institution, fill in your information and a member of our Sales Team will contact you as soon as possible.
to your librarian. Recommend
Let your librarian know about the award-winning gateway to the most trustworthy and accurate scientific information.
AccessScience provides the most accurate and trustworthy scientific information available.
Recognized as an award-winning gateway to scientific knowledge, AccessScience is an amazing online resource that contains high-quality reference material written specifically for students. Contributors include more than 10,000 highly qualified scientists and 46 Nobel Prize winners.
MORE THAN 8700 articles covering all major scientific disciplines and encompassing the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology and McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science & Technology
115,000-PLUS definitions from the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms
3000 biographies of notable scientific figures
MORE THAN 19,000 downloadable images and animations illustrating key topics
ENGAGING VIDEOS highlighting the life and work of award-winning scientists
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY and additional readings to guide students to deeper understanding and research
LINKS TO CITABLE LITERATURE help students expand their knowledge using primary sources of information