Total serum glycan analysis is superior to lectin-FLISA for the early detection of hepatocellular carcinoma

Mary Ann Comunale, Mengjun Wang, Nikhil Anbarasan, Lucy Betesh, Aykan Karabudak, Ethan Moritz, Karthik Devarajan, Jorge Marrero, Timothy M. Block, Anand Mehta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Purpose: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a primary cancer of the liver that is predominantly the result of infection with a hepatotropic virus such as hepatitis B virus or hepatitis C virus. As liver cancer is often asymptomatic, the development of sensitive noninvasive biomarkers is needed for early detection and improved survival. Experimental design: We have previously identified alterations in the N-linked glycosylation of serum proteins with the development of HCC and identified many of the proteins that contained the altered glycosylation. In the current study, we compared the ability of the identified proteins to diagnose HCC with the total serum glycan analysis. Results: Surprisingly, glycan analysis of total serum had the greatest ability to distinguish HCC from cirrhosis with an AUROC of 0.851, a sensitivity of 73% at a specificity of 88%. When total glycan sequencing was combined with alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), the sensitivity increased to 95% at a specificity of 90%. Conclusion and clinical relevance: Changes in glycosylation as detected in whole serum could be used to diagnose HCC with greater sensitivity and specificity than that observed through the analysis of specific protein glycoforms or protein levels. Such an assay could have value in the management of those at risk for the development of HCC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)690-700
Number of pages11
JournalProteomics - Clinical Applications
Issue number9-10
StatePublished - Oct 2013


  • Cirrhosis
  • Glycomics
  • Hepatitis B virus
  • Hepatitis C virus
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry


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