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Trends Mol Med. 2013 Nov;19(11):664-76. doi: 10.1016/j.molmed.2013.07.003. Epub 2013 Aug 8.

Gastric cancer: adding glycosylation to the equation.

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Institute of Molecular Pathology and Immunology of the University of Porto (IPATIMUP), Rua Dr Roberto Frias s/n, 4200-465 Porto, Portugal; Institute of Biomedical Sciences of Abel Salazar (ICBAS), University of Porto, Rua de Jorge Viterbo Ferreira n.° 228, 4050-313 Porto, Portugal.


Gastric cancer has a high incidence and mortality, so there is a pressing need to understand the underlying molecular mechanisms in order to discover novel biomarkers. Glycosylation alterations are frequent during gastric carcinogenesis and cancer progression. This review describes the role of glycans from the initial steps of the carcinogenesis process, in which Helicobacter pylori adheres to host mucosa glycans and modulates the glycophenotype, as well as how glycans interfere with epithelial cell adhesion by modulating epithelial cadherin functionality in gastric cancer progression. Other mechanisms regulating gastric cancer malignant behavior are discussed, such as increased sialylation interfering with key signaling pathways and integrin glycosylation leading to an invasive phenotype. Applications of these glycosylation alterations in the clinical management of gastric cancer patients are discussed.


biomarkers; cancer; e-cadherin; gastric cancer; glycosylation; integrins

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