A lectin-based approach to detecting carcinogenesis in breast tissue

Ga Ram Wi, Byung In Moon, Hyoung Jin Kim, Woosung Lim, Anbok Lee, Jun Woo Lee, Hong Jin Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


It has been suggested that the diversity of glycosylation structures that form during cancer progression and the sensitivity with which they are able to be detected have great potential for cancer screening. However, the large majority of breast cancer research has instead focused on the development of protein or nucleic acid markers. In the present study, alterations in glycosylation in breast cancer tissue were analyzed using enzyme-linked lectin assays (ELLAs), which have potential for high-throughput screening. Cancer tissues (CCs) and normal tissues (CNs) were collected from women with breast cancer ranging from stage 0 to IIIA. The specimens were divided into two groups, stage 0-I and stage II-III, and the levels of four types of lectin in stage 0-I and stage II-III CCs and CNs were compared by ELLA. The results demonstrated that, relative to CNs, the CCs contained significantly enhanced levels of mannosylation (stage 0-I, P<0.001; stage II-III, P<0.001), galactosylation (stage 0-I, P<0.05; stage II-III, P<0.001), sialylation (stage 0-I, P<0.001; stage II-III, P<0.01) and fucosylation (stage 0-I, P<0.01; stage II-III, P<0.01). Furthermore, stage II-III CCs had higher levels of mannosylation (P<0.05) and galactosylation (P<0.01) than stage 0-I CCs. The sensitivity of the ELLA system ranged from 71-100% when specificity was set at 100%. These results demonstrate that enhanced glycosylation levels identified by ELLA are associated with the development of breast tumors, and provide evidence of the exceptional sensitivity and specificity of the ELLA system in the detection of breast cancer. This approach is anticipated to contribute highly to the development of reliable diagnostic procedures for breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3889-3895
Number of pages7
JournalOncology Letters
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, Oncology Letters. All Rights Reserved.


  • Breast cancer
  • Enzyme-linked lectin assay
  • Fucosylation
  • Galactosylation
  • Glycosylation
  • Lectin
  • Mannosylation
  • Sialylation


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