A glycomic approach is developed to identify oligosaccharide markers for ovarian cancer by rapidly profiling globally released oligosaccharides. Glycoproteins shed by cancer cells are found in the supernatant (or conditioned media) of cultured cells. In this approach, shed glycoproteins are profiled for their oligosaccharide content using beta-elimination conditions. Changes in glycosylation are monitored by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (MALDI-FTICR-MS). Because shed glycoproteins would also be found in serum, similar glycan profiling was performed to observe potential oligosaccharide markers. Oligosaccharide profiling data on a limited set of patient and normal serum samples were studied to determine potential glycan markers in ovarian cancer. We were able to demonstrate the presence of at least 15 unique serum glycan markers in all patients but absent in normal individuals. To determine the structure of the glycan biomarkers, a number of the ions were isolated and further analyzed using infrared multiphoton dissociation (IRMPD). One major advantage of this approach is that glycans are examined directly from patient sera without the need to obtain cancer biopsy specimens or to purify glycosylated proteins from these specimens.