Distribution of tumor-associated glycoprotein-72 (TAG-72) expression throughout the normal female reproductive tract.


Compared with the degree of investigation of stage-specific expression of tumor-associated glycoprotein-72 (TAG-72) in fundal endometrium, other regions of the female reproductive tract have not received comparable attention. Regional, cell-type-specific, and temporal differences in estrogen receptor and progesterone receptor distribution and concentration among these tissues should make such examination beneficial to our understanding of hormonal regulation of TAG-72 expression. The pattern of monoclonal antibody (MAb) B72.3 recognition in the cervix, uterus, oviduct, and ovary was examined by immunohistochemistry during both the proliferative and secretory intervals of the normal menstrual cycle. Intense immunoreactivity in fundal endometrium was limited to the secretory menstrual interval. Conversely, TAG-72 expression was generally weaker, sporadically distributed, and not stage specific in the lower uterine segment, endocervix, and cervix; no expression was detected in the oviduct or ovary. The disparity in both temporal and spatial distribution of TAG-72 expression throughout the female reproductive tract does not appear to be directly associated with the well-described changes in circulating estradiol or progesterone or the receptors for these steroids. Results suggest that regulation of TAG-72 expression may involve local paracrine/autocrine mechanisms, which in turn may be subject to hormonal influence.