Therapeutic Targeting of Siglecs using Antibody- and Glycan-Based Approaches

Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2015 Oct;36(10):645-660. doi: 10.1016/


The sialic acid-binding immunoglobulin-like lectins (Siglecs) are a family of immunomodulatory receptors whose functions are regulated by their glycan ligands. Siglecs are attractive therapeutic targets because of their cell type-specific expression pattern, endocytic properties, high expression on certain lymphomas/leukemias, and ability to modulate receptor signaling. Siglec-targeting approaches with therapeutic potential encompass antibody- and glycan-based strategies. Several antibody-based therapies are in clinical trials and continue to be developed for the treatment of lymphoma/leukemia and autoimmune disease, while the therapeutic potential of glycan-based strategies for cargo delivery and immunomodulation is a promising new approach. Here we review these strategies with special emphasis on emerging approaches and disease areas that may benefit from targeting the Siglec family.

Keywords: Siglecs; antibodies; glycans; sialic acid; synthetic ligands.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies / immunology
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology
  • Autoimmune Diseases / therapy*
  • Glucans / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / methods*
  • Leukemia / immunology
  • Leukemia / therapy*
  • Lymphoma / immunology
  • Lymphoma / therapy*
  • Sialic Acid Binding Immunoglobulin-like Lectins / chemistry
  • Sialic Acid Binding Immunoglobulin-like Lectins / immunology*


  • Antibodies
  • Glucans
  • Sialic Acid Binding Immunoglobulin-like Lectins