Carbohydrate-mediated cell adhesion involved in hematogenous metastasis of cancer

Glycoconj J. 1997 Aug;14(5):577-84. doi: 10.1023/a:1018532409041.


The carbohydrate determinants, sialyl Lewis A and sialyl Lewis X, which are frequently expressed on human cancer cells, serve as ligands for a cell adhesion molecule of the selectin family, E-selectin, which is expressed on vascular endothelial cells. These carbohydrate determinants are involved in the adhesion of cancer cells to vascular endothelium and thus contribute to hematogenous metastasis of cancer. The initial adhesion mediated by these molecules triggers activation of integrin molecules through the action of several cytokines and leads to the extravasation of cancer cells. Cancer cells also produce humoral factors that facilitate E-selectin expression on endothelial cells. The degree of expression of the carbohydrate ligands at the surface of cancer cells is well correlated with the frequency of hematogenous metastasis and prognostic outcome of patients with cancers. The alteration of glycosyltransferase activities that leads to the enhanced expression of these carbohydrate ligands on cancer cell surface are currently being investigated.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Cell Adhesion*
  • E-Selectin / physiology*
  • Glycosyltransferases / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lewis X Antigen / physiology*
  • Models, Biological
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / pathology*
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / physiopathology*
  • Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Oligosaccharides / metabolism*
  • P-Selectin / physiology
  • Prognosis
  • Sialyl Lewis X Antigen


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • E-Selectin
  • Lewis X Antigen
  • Oligosaccharides
  • P-Selectin
  • Sialyl Lewis X Antigen
  • sialyl-Le(a) oligosaccharide
  • Glycosyltransferases