Glycoprofiling of cancer biomarkers: Label-free electrochemical lectin-based biosensors

Open Chem. 2015 Jan;13(1):636-655. doi: 10.1515/chem-2015-0082.


Glycosylation of biomolecules is one of the most prevalent post- and co-translational modification in a human body, with more than half of all human proteins being glycosylated. Malignant transformation of cells influences glycosylation machinery resulting in subtle changes of the glycosylation pattern within the cell populations as a result of cancer. Thus, an altered terminal glycan motif on glycoproteins could provide a warning signal about disease development and progression and could be applied as a reliable biomarker in cancer diagnostics. Among all highly effective glycoprofiling tools, label-free electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS)-based biosensors have emerged as especially suitable tool for point-of-care early-stage cancer detection. Herein, we highlight the current challenges in glycoprofiling of various cancer biomarkers by ultrasensitive impedimetric-based biosensors with low sample consumption, low cost fabrication and simple miniaturization. Additionally, this review provides a short introduction to the field of glycomics and lectinomics and gives a brief overview of glycan alterations in different types of cancer.

Keywords: biosensors; cancer biomarkers; electrochemical impedance spectroscopy; glycosylation; lectins.