Differential carbohydrate expression in tumorigenic vs. non-tumorigenic prostate cell lines

R. A. Pacis, M. J. Pilat, K. Yamazaki, K. J. Pienta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Death from prostate cancer is most frequently a result of metastatic disease. A key step in the process of metastasis is the attachment of circulatory tumor cells to target organ endothelium. This process is thought to be mediated by lectins, a class of cell surface proteins that bind two or more carbohydrate groups. Using fluorescent microscopy and fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC) conjugated lectins, the presence of various carbohydrates was examined in the following tumorigenic and non-tumorigenic cell lines: rat prostate epithelial (EPYP-2, EPYP-1), rat prostate endothelial (YPEN-2, YPEN-1, YPEN-2PV), Dunning rat prostate cancer cell lines (MLL, ML, AT6.3, AT.1, AT2.1, GP9F3), and three tumorigenic human prostate cell lines (LNCaP, PC3, PC3 bone). The lectin Triticum vulgaris (WGA) was found to readily bind the carbobydrates N-acetylglucosamine and sialic acid on the plasma membrane of tumorigenic cell lines. Interestingly, WGA bound carbohydrates located to the nucleus and cytoplasm in non-tumorigenic cell lines, indicating that N-acetylglucosamine and sialic acid residues are preferentially expressed on the cell membrane of prostate cancer cells. Lectin staining patterns in cell lines of varying metastatic potential revealed no significant difference between highly metastatic vs. low metastatic cell lines. Observations revealed an absence of N-acetylgalactosamine and L-fucose in all rat Dunning, epithelial and endothelial cell lines as well as all human prostate cancer cell lines except for the androgen insensitive human prostate cancer cell line PC3, in which L-fucose residues were detected in the nucleus and on the plasma membrane. PC3 bone cells, which metastasized selectively to bone, demonstrated the presence of galactose residues whereas PC3 cells did not, suggesting that preference for target organ endothelium may be influenced by the expression of carbohydrate residues. These data indicate that differential carbohydrate expression may play an important role in prostate cancer biology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1349-1354
Number of pages6
JournalInternational journal of oncology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • Dunning cells
  • carbohydrate
  • lectin
  • prostate neoplasms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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