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Int J Mol Imaging. 2011;2011:283497. doi: 10.1155/2011/283497. Epub 2011 Sep 19.

Towards in vivo imaging of cancer sialylation.

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  • 1Human Glycobiology Laboratory, Science Faculty, Autonomous University of the State of Morelos, Avenida Universidad 1001, Col. Chamilpa, 62209 Cuernavaca, MOR, Mexico.


In vivo assessment of tumor glucose catabolism by positron emission tomography (PET) has become a highly valued study in the medical management of cancer. Emerging technologies offer the potential to evaluate in vivo another aspect of cancer carbohydrate metabolism related to the increased anabolic use of monosaccharides like sialic acid (Sia). Sia is used for the synthesis of sialylated oligosaccharides in the cell surface that in cancer cells are overexpressed and positively associated to malignancy and worse prognosis because of their role in invasion and metastasis. This paper addresses the key points of the different strategies that have been developed to image Sia expression in vivo and the perspectives to translate it from the bench to the bedside where it would offer the clinician highly valued complementary information on cancer carbohydrate metabolism that is currently unavailable in vivo.

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