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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2012 Sep;1820(9):1347-53. doi: 10.1016/j.bbagen.2011.12.001. Epub 2011 Dec 9.

Glycans as cancer biomarkers.

Author information

1
Dublin-Oxford Glycobiology Laboratory, NIBRT-The National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training, Fosters Avenue, Mount Merrion, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Non-invasive biomarkers, such as those from serum, are ideal for disease prognosis, staging and monitoring. In the past decade, our understanding of the importance of glycosylation changes with disease has evolved.

SCOPE OF REVIEW:

We describe potential biomarkers derived from serum glycoproteins for liver, pancreatic, prostate, ovarian, breast, lung and stomach cancers. Methods for glycan analysis have progressed and newly developed high-throughput platform technologies have enabled the analysis of large cohorts of samples in an efficient manner. We also describe this evolution and trends to follow in the future.

MAJOR CONCLUSIONS:

Many convincing examples of aberrant glycans associated with cancer have come about from glycosylation analyses. Most studies have been carried out to identify changes in serum glycan profiles or through the isolation and identification of glycoproteins that contain these irregular glycan structures. In a majority of cancers the fucosylation and sialylation expression are found to be significantly modified. Therefore, these aberrations in glycan structures can be utilized as targets to improve existing cancer biomarkers.

GENERAL SIGNIFICANCE:

The ability to distinguish differences in the glycosylation of proteins between cancer and control patients emphasizes glycobiology as a promising field for potential biomarker identification. Furthermore, the high-throughput and reproducible nature of the chromatography platform have highlighted extensive applications in biomarker discovery and allowed integration of glycomics with other -omics fields, such as proteomics and genomics, making systems glycobiology a reality. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled Glycoproteomics.

PMID:
22178561
DOI:
10.1016/j.bbagen.2011.12.001
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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