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Oncogenic anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) fusion proteins (nucleophosmin-ALK [NPM-ALK] and other variants) are expressed in many cases of anaplastic large-cell lymphoma (ALCL) but are absent from normal tissues. The possibility that ALK proteins are immunogenic was investigated with the use of an immunocytochemical technique to screen plasma from ALK-positive ALCL on transfectants expressing ALK proteins and by an in vitro kinase assay. Circulating antibodies against NPM-ALK protein were present in all ALK-positive ALCL patients (11 out of 11 cases) studied while 10 patients also had antibodies recognizing normal ALK protein. Weak antibodies reactive with NPM-ALK (which may represent anti-NPM autoantibodies) were detected by the in vitro kinase assay in 3 of the 10 control samples (but not by immunocytochemistry). The presence of anti-ALK antibodies may be relevant to the relatively good prognosis of ALK-positive ALCL. The immunocytochemical technique for detecting anti-ALK activity is simple and semiquantative and may provide a means of detecting B-cell responses to other tumor-associated molecules. (Blood. 2000;96:1605-1607)


Journal article



Publication Date





1605 - 1607


Anaplastic Lymphoma Kinase, Animals, Antibodies, Antibody Specificity, COS Cells, Humans, Immunohistochemistry, Lymphoma, Large B-Cell, Diffuse, Protein-Tyrosine Kinases, Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases