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Glavey SV, Huynh D, Reagan MR, Manier S, Moschetta M, Kawano Y, Roccaro AM, Ghobrial IM, Joshi L, O'Dwyer ME
The cancer glycome: Carbohydrates as mediators of metastasis.
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Glycosylation is a frequent post-translational modification which results in the addition of carbohydrate determinants, "glycans", to cell surface proteins and lipids. These glycan structures form the "glycome" and play an integral role in cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions through modulation of adhesion and cell trafficking. Glycosylation is increasingly recognized as a modulator of the malignant phenotype of cancer cells, where the interaction between cells and the tumor micro-environment is altered to facilitate processes such as drug resistance and metastasis. Changes in glycosylation of cell surface adhesion molecules such as selectin ligands, integrins and mucins have been implicated in the pathogenesis of several solid and hematological malignancies, often with prognostic implications. In this review we focus on the functional significance of alterations in cancer cell glycosylation, in terms of cell adhesion, trafficking and the metastatic cascade and provide insights into the prognostic and therapeutic implications of recent findings in this fast-evolving niche.
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