Increased bisecting N-acetylglucosamine and decreased branched chain glycans of N-linked glycoproteins in expressed prostatic secretions associated with prostate cancer progression

Proteomics Clin Appl. 2013 Oct;7(9-10):677-89. doi: 10.1002/prca.201200134. Epub 2013 Sep 13.


Purpose: Using prostatic fluids rich in glycoproteins like prostate-specific antigen and prostatic acid phosphatase (PAP), the goal of this study was to identify the structural types and relative abundance of glycans associated with prostate cancer status for subsequent use in emerging MS-based glycopeptide analysis platforms.

Experimental design: A series of pooled samples of expressed prostatic secretions (EPS) and exosomes reflecting different stages of prostate cancer disease were used for N-linked glycan profiling by three complementary methods, MALDI-TOF profiling, normal-phase HPLC separation, and triple quadropole MS analysis of PAP glycopeptides.

Results: Glycan profiling of N-linked glycans from different EPS fluids indicated a global decrease in larger branched tri- and tetra-antennary glycans. Differential exoglycosidase treatments indicated a substantial increase in bisecting N-acetylglucosamines correlated with disease severity. A triple quadrupole MS analysis of the N-linked glycopeptides sites from PAP in aggressive prostate cancer pools was done to cross-reference with the glycan profiling data.

Conclusion and clinical relevance: Changes in glycosylation as detected in EPS fluids reflect the clinical status of prostate cancer. Defining these molecular signatures at the glycopeptide level in individual samples could improve current approaches of diagnosis and prognosis.

Keywords: Expressed prostatic secretion; Glycomics; N-linked glycosylation; Prostate cancer; Urine exosome.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acetylglucosamine / metabolism*
  • Disease Progression*
  • Glycomics
  • Glycoproteins / chemistry*
  • Glycoproteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Grading
  • Polysaccharides / chemistry
  • Polysaccharides / metabolism*
  • Prostate / metabolism*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology


  • Glycoproteins
  • Polysaccharides
  • Acetylglucosamine