Glycoproteomic analyses of ovarian cancer cell lines and sera from ovarian cancer patients show distinct glycosylation changes in individual proteins

Bensheng Li, Hyun Joo An, Crystal Kirmiz, Carlito B Lebrilla, Kit Lam, Suzanne Miyamoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Ovarian cancer is difficult to diagnose in women because symptoms of the disease are often not noticed until the disease has progressed to an advanced untreatable stage. Although a serum test, CA125, is currently available to assist with monitoring treatment of ovarian cancer, this test lacks the necessary specificity and sensitivity for early detection. Therefore, better biomarkers of ovarian cancer are needed. A glycoprotein analysis approach was undertaken using high resolution Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry to analyze glycosylated proteins present in the conditioned media of ovarian cancer cell lines and in sera obtained from ovarian cancer patients and normal controls. In this study, glycosylated proteins were separated by gel electrophoresis, and individual glycoproteins were selected for glycosylation analysis and protein identification. The attached glycans from each protein were released and profiled by mass spectrometry. Glycosylation of a mucin protein and a large glycosylated protein isolated from the ES2 ovarian cancer cell line was determined to consist of mostly O-linked glycans. Four prominent glycoproteins of approximate 517, 370, 250, 163 kDa from serum samples were identified as two forms of apolipoprotein B-100, fibronectin, and immunoglobulin A1, respectively. Mass spectrometric analysis of glycans isolated from apolipoprotein B-100 (517 kD) showed the presence of small, specific O-linked oligosaccharides. In contrast, analysis of fibronectin (250 kD) and immunoglobulin A1 (163 kD) produced N-linked glycan fragments in forms that were sufficiently different from the glycans obtained from the corresponding protein band present in the normal serum samples. This study shows that not only a single protein but several are aberrantly glycosylated, and those abnormal glycosylation changes can be detected and may ultimately serve as glycan biomarkers for ovarian cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3776-3788
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Proteome Research
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2008


  • Cancer marker
  • Glycan
  • Glycoprotein
  • Human serum
  • MALDI mass spectrometry
  • Ovarian cancer
  • SDS-PAGE electrophoresis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Chemistry(all)


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