Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Detecting gastric cancer cancer early: It's in sugars

Date:
December 20, 2013
Source:
UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center
Summary:
An international team of researchers have taken a first step towards identifying glycans — sugars attached to proteins — that could help clinicians diagnose gastric cancer before it becomes deadly.

Gastric cancer kills more than 700,000 people each year, mostly in Latin America, Asia and Eastern Europe. Though the disease is quite treatable when caught early, symptoms are indistinct and late detection leads to high mortality. The five-year survival rate in the United States is 26.9 percent.

An international team of researchers led by UC Davis in collaboration with scientists in Mexico and South Korea have taken a first step towards identifying glycans -- sugars attached to proteins -- that could help clinicians diagnose gastric cancer before it becomes deadly. Their research was published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research.

Gastritis and gastric cancer, along with duodenal ulcers, often share a common origin -- Helicobacter pylori infection, which affects as many as 50 percent of the world's population. However, there is no reliable way to predict whether patients with the infection will only experience asymptomatic gastritis or go on to develop cancer.

"We showed statistically significant differences between the serum glycan profiles of patients with gastric cancer and those with gastritis," said Jay Solnick, lead author and professor in the Center for Comparative Medicine at UC Davis. "This is the first time anyone has looked at whether serum glycans could be used to detect gastric cancer."

Co-author Carlito Lebrilla, professor of analytical chemistry at UC Davis, added that better tests are essential to detecting these cancers.

"In gastric and other cancers, there are high false positive rates and unnecessary biopsies," he said. "We want to minimize these unneeded procedures."

In a complex process called glycosylation, enzymes attach glycans to proteins, preparing these glycoproteins to perform their specific jobs. However, cancer can alter these enzymes, changing which glycans are attached and altering protein function. These enzyme changes are roughly analogous to robots on an automobile assembly line that have been reprogrammed to neglect side mirrors or to spray two coats of primer and no paint.

Using 72 samples from patients in Mexico City, the researchers studied whether specific glycans in serum differed between patients with gastric cancer, gastritis or duodenal ulcers. The team used mass spectrometry and liquid chromatography to measure glycan levels in the different samples. In all, they found 19 significant glycan changes, including three that differentiated gastric cancer from gastritis.

"We found changes in glycosylation that were consistent with other cancers we've observed," said Lebrilla. "While this study focused specifically on gastric cancer, glycan concentrations could potentially be used to predict other cancers, such as ovarian and lung."

One interesting trait of H. pylori infection is that patients can develop duodenal ulcers or gastric cancer but rarely both. The researchers hoped to find glycan changes between these conditions that would account for the absence of gastric cancer in ulcer patients. For example, there might be protective glycans that prevent cancer development. However, they found no significant differences between these glycan profiles.

Now that the researchers have identified glycans that are expressed differentially in gastritis and gastric cancer, the next step is to determine whether these glycosylation changes can be used to predict cancer.

"Right now we have statistical significance but not predictive value," said Solnick. "If we can improve the predictability, we could create a diagnostic test with real clinical value."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. S. Ozcan, D. A. Barkauskas, L. R. Ruhaak, J. Javier Torres, C. L. Cooke, H. An, S. Hua, C. C. Williams, L. M. Dimapasoc, J. Kim, M. Camorlinga-Ponce, D. M. Rocke, C. Lebrilla, J. Solnick. Serum glycan signatures of gastric cancer. Cancer Prevention Research, 2013; DOI: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-13-0235

Cite This Page:

UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center. "Detecting gastric cancer cancer early: It's in sugars." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 December 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131220200653.htm>.
UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center. (2013, December 20). Detecting gastric cancer cancer early: It's in sugars. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131220200653.htm
UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center. "Detecting gastric cancer cancer early: It's in sugars." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131220200653.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Newsy (Apr. 19, 2014) Nine-month-old Wyatt Scott was born with a rare disorder called congenital trismus, which prevents him from opening his mouth. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) In a potential breakthrough for future obesity treatments, scientists have used MRI scans to pinpoint brown fat in a living adult for the first time. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins