Changes in glycan composition are common in cancer and can play important roles in all of the recognised hallmarks of cancer (1). We recently identified glycosylation as a global target for androgen control in prostate cancer cells and further defined a set of 8 glycosylation enzymes (GALNT7, ST6GalNAc1, GCNT1, UAP1, PGM3, CSGALNACT1, ST6GAL1 and EDEM3), which are also significantly up-regulated in prostate cancer tissue (4). These 8 enzymes are under direct control of the androgen receptor (AR) and are linked to the synthesis of important cancer-associated glycans such as sialyl-Tn (sTn), sialyl LewisX (SLeX), O-GlcNAc and chondroitin sulphate (4). Glycosylation has a key role in many important biological processes in cancer including cell adhesion, migration, interactions with the cell matrix, immune surveillance, cell signalling and cellular metabolism. Our results suggest that alterations in patterns of glycosylation via androgen control might modify some, or all of these processes in prostate cancer (2,3). The prostate is an abundant secretor of glycoproteins of all types, and alterations in glycans are, therefore, attractive as potential biomarkers and therapeutic targets. Emerging data on these often overlooked glycan modifications have the potential to improve risk stratification and therapeutic strategies in patients with prostate cancer.
Presenting Author: Jennifer Munkley, Institute of Genetic Medicine, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, UK. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org