Screening for antibodies against the Ma antigen is used to screen patients with suspected paraneoplastic syndrome.
The Ma-2 antigen is found in neurons and testes and is also known as the Ta antigen.
These antibodies are associated with cerebral paraneoplastic degeneration, limbic encephalitis, and brainstem encephalitis. Antibodies can be present in many different cancers, e.g. Breast cancer, testicular cancer, and small cell lung cancer. Patients with the paraneoplastic syndrome often present with neurological symptoms prior to the onset of clinical manifestations due to the tumor. Treatment of paraneoplastic syndrome involves finding and treating the underlying tumor. In general, immunotherapy treatment is more effective against autoantibodies directed against extracellular antigens than for autoantibodies against intracellular antigens.
See also: Anti-Neuronal Antibodies