Glycosylation is a posttranslational modification of proteins playing a major role in cell signalling, immune recognition, and cell-cell interaction because of their glycan branches conferring structure variability and binding specificity to lectin ligands. Aberrant expression of glycan structures as well as occurrence of truncated structures, precursors, or novel structures of glycan may affect ligand-receptor interactions and thus interfere with regulation of cell adhesion, migration, and proliferation. Indeed, aberrant glycosylation represents a hallmark of cancer, reflecting cancer-specific changes in glycan biosynthesis pathways such as the altered expression of glycosyltransferases and glycosidases. Most studies have been carried out to identify changes in serum glycan structures. In most cancers, fucosylation and sialylation are significantly modified. Thus, aberrations in glycan structures can be used as targets to improve existing serum cancer biomarkers. 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. In this review, we discuss the aberrant protein glycosylation associated with human cancer and the identification of protein glycoforms as cancer biomarkers. In particular, we will focus on the aberrant CD43 glycosylation as cancer biomarker and the potential to exploit the UN1 monoclonal antibody (UN1 mAb) to identify aberrant CD43 glycoforms.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)