Detection of a Novel Marker in the Bronchial Secretions of Patients with Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer using the 4B5 Monoclonal Antibody

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A murine monoclonal antibody designated 4B5 was raised against the high molecular weight fraction of pooled sputum from patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Immunohistochemical staining indicated that 4B5 binds to histologically normal bronchial epithelium distant from tumor in 72% (39 of 54) of patients with NSCLC, but it binds to the primary cancer in only 13% (7 of 54) of the same patients. The antibody reacted less intensely with the bronchial epithelium in 16.6% (3 of 18) of autopsied patients without significant lung disease. The antigen recognized by 4B5 is a high molecular weight glycoprotein of more than 400 kilodaltons, judged by gel filtration and sodium dodecyl sulfate-poly-acrylamide gel electrophoresis and western blot analysis. Antigenic activity persisted after heating and resisted treatment with neuraminidase, but it was destroyed using protease and periodate. Multiple epitopes were present on each molecule recognized by 4B5. The determinants recognized by this antibody deserve additional study as possible markers of premalignant change in patients with NSCLC.