High-mannose glycans are elevated during breast cancer progression

Mol Cell Proteomics. 2011 Jan;10(1):M110.002717. doi: 10.1074/mcp.M110.002717. Epub 2010 Nov 19.


Alteration in glycosylation has been observed in cancer. However, monitoring glycosylation changes during breast cancer progression is difficult in humans. In this study, we used a well-characterized transplantable breast tumor mouse model, the mouse mammary tumor virus-polyoma middle T antigen, to observe early changes in glycosylation. We have previously used the said mouse model to look at O-linked glycosylation changes with breast cancer. In this glycan biomarker discovery study, we examined N-linked glycan variations during breast cancer progression of the mouse model but this time doubling the number of mice and blood draw points. N-glycans from total mouse serum glycoproteins were profiled using matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization Fourier transform-ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry at the onset, progression, and removal of mammary tumors. We observed four N-linked glycans, m/z 1339.480 (Hex(3)HexNAc), 1485.530 (Hex(3)HexNAc(4)Fuc), 1809.639 (Hex(5)HexNAc(4)Fuc), and 1905.630 (Man(9)), change in intensity in the cancer group but not in the control group. In a separate study, N-glycans from total human serum glycoproteins of breast cancer patients and controls were also profiled. Analysis of human sera using an internal standard showed the alteration of the low-abundant high-mannose glycans, m/z 1419.475, 1581.528, 1743.581, 1905.634 (Man(6-9)), in breast cancer patients. A key observation was the elevation of a high-mannose type glycan containing nine mannoses, Man(9), m/z 1905.630 in both mouse and human sera in the presence of breast cancer, suggesting an incompletion of the glycosylation process that normally trims back Man(9) to produce complex and hybrid type oligosaccharides.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Breast Neoplasms / blood*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Carbohydrate Conformation
  • Disease Progression*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mannose / blood*
  • Mannose / chemistry
  • Mice
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Polysaccharides / blood*
  • Polysaccharides / chemistry
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization


  • Polysaccharides
  • Mannose