Identification of Fucosylated SERPINA1 as a Novel Plasma Marker for Pancreatic Cancer Using Lectin Affinity Capture Coupled with iTRAQ-Based Quantitative Glycoproteomics

Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Jun 4;22(11):6079. doi: 10.3390/ijms22116079.


Pancreatic cancer (PC) is an aggressive cancer with a high mortality rate, necessitating the development of effective diagnostic, prognostic and predictive biomarkers for disease management. Aberrantly fucosylated proteins in PC are considered a valuable resource of clinically useful biomarkers. The main objective of the present study was to identify novel plasma glycobiomarkers of PC using the iTRAQ quantitative proteomics approach coupled with Aleuria aurantia lectin (AAL)-based glycopeptide enrichment and isotope-coded glycosylation site-specific tagging, with a view to analyzing the glycoproteome profiles of plasma samples from patients with non-metastatic and metastatic PC and gallstones (GS). As a result, 22 glycopeptides with significantly elevated levels in plasma samples of PC were identified. Fucosylated SERPINA1 (fuco-SERPINA1) was selected for further validation in 121 plasma samples (50 GS and 71 PC) using an AAL-based reverse lectin ELISA technique developed in-house. Our analyses revealed significantly higher plasma levels of fuco-SERPINA1 in PC than GS subjects (310.7 ng/mL v.s. 153.6 ng/mL, p = 0.0114). Elevated fuco-SERPINA1 levels were associated with higher TNM stage (p = 0.024) and poorer prognosis for overall survival (log-rank test, p = 0.0083). The increased plasma fuco-SERPINA1 levels support the utility of this protein as a novel prognosticator for PC.

Keywords: AAL; fucosylated SERPINA1; glycobiomarker; iTRAQ-based quantitative proteome; pancreatic cancer; plasma; reverse lectin-based ELISA.

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / blood*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chromatography, Affinity
  • Female
  • Fucose / chemistry*
  • Fucose / metabolism
  • Glycoproteins / blood*
  • Humans
  • Lectins / chemistry*
  • Lectins / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / blood
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Proteome / analysis
  • Proteome / metabolism*
  • Survival Rate
  • alpha 1-Antitrypsin / blood*
  • alpha 1-Antitrypsin / chemistry


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Glycoproteins
  • Lectins
  • Proteome
  • SERPINA1 protein, human
  • alpha 1-Antitrypsin
  • lectin, Aleuria aurantia
  • Fucose