Increasing evidence has linked the humoral immune response with the development of various cancers. Therefore, there is growing interest in investigating the predictive value of antibodies to assess overall and tissue site-specific cancer risk. Given the large amount of antibody types and the broad scope of the search (i.e. cancer risk), the primary aim of this systematic review was to present an overview of the most researched antibodies (i.e. immunoglobulin (Ig) isotypes (IgG, IgM, IgA, and IgE), tumour and self-antigen-reactive antibodies, infection-related antibodies) in relation to overall and site-specific cancer risk. We identified various antibody types that have been associated with the risk of cancer. While no significant associations were found for IgM serum levels, studies found an inconsistent association among IgE, IgA, and IgG serum levels in relation to cancer risk. When evaluating antibodies against infectious agents, most studies reported a positive link with specific cancers known to be associated with the specific agent recognized by serum antibodies (i.e. helicobacter pylori and gastric cancer, hepatitis B virus and hepatocellular carcinoma, and human papillomavirus and cervical cancer). Several reports identified autoantibodies, as single biomarkers (e.g. anti-p53, anti-MUC1, and anti-CA125) but especially in panels of multiple autoantibodies, to have potential as diagnostic biomarkers for specific cancer types. Overall, there is emerging evidence associating certain antibodies to cancer risk, especially immunoglobulin isotypes, tumour-associated antigen-specific, and self-reactive antibodies. Further experimental studies are necessary to assess the efficacy of specific antibodies as markers for the early diagnosis of cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-63
Number of pages18
JournalClinical and Experimental Immunology
Issue number1
Early online date4 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022


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