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Chem Biol. 1997 Feb;4(2):97-104.

Glycosphingolipid antigens and cancer therapy.

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  • 1Pacific Northwest Research Foundation, Biomembrane Division, University of Washington, 720 Broadway, Seattle, WA 98122, USA. hakomori@u.washington.edu


Specific types of glycosphingolipid (GSL), which are chemically detectable in normal cells, are more highly expressed in tumors. The high level of expression on the surfaces of tumor cells causes an antibody response to these GSLs, which can therefore be described as tumor-associated antigens. Some of these GSLs have been shown to be adhesion molecules involved in tumor cell metastasis, and to be modulators of signal transduction controlling tumor cell growth and motility. Tumor-associated GSL antigens have been used in the development of antitumor vaccines. GSLs and sphingolipids involved in adhesion and signaling are therefore targets for cancer therapy.

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