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Glypican-1: a biomarker for prostate cancer

Glypican-1 Sequence Alignment

Prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed male visceral cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Standard tests such as prostate-specific antigen (PSA) measurement have poor specificity (33%) resulting in a high number of false positive reports. Consequently there is a need for new biomarkers to address this problem. The MIL-38 antibody was first described nearly thirty years ago, however, until now, the identification of the target antigen remained elusive. By a series of molecular techniques and mass spectrometry, the MIL-38 antigen was identified to be the highly glycosylated proteoglycan Glypican-1 (GPC-1). This protein is present in two forms; a membrane bound core protein of 55-60 kDa and secreted soluble forms of 40 kDa and 52 kDa. GPC-1 identification was confirmed by immuno-precipitation, western blots and ELISA. An ELISA platform is currently being developed to assess the levels of GPC-1 in normal, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and prostate cancer patients to determine whether secreted GPC-1 may represent a clinically relevant biomarker for prostate cancer diagnosis

Truong Q, Justiniano IO, Nocon AL, et al. J Cancer. 2016;7(8):1002-9.


Heparan sulfate moieties of cell-surface proteoglycans modulate the biological responses to fibroblast growth factors (FGFs). We have reported previously that cell-associated heparan sulfates inhibit the binding of the keratinocyte growth factor (KGF), but enhance the binding of acidic FGF to the KGF receptor, both in keratinocytes, which naturally express this receptor, and in rat myoblasts, which ectopically express it (Reich-Slotky, R.,Bonneh-Barkay, D., Shaoul, E., Berman, B., Svahn, C. M., and Ron, D. (1994) J. Biol. Chem. 269, 32279-32285). The proteoglycan bearing these modulatory heparan sulfates was purified to homogeneity from salt extracts of rat myoblasts by anion-exchange and FGF affinity chromatography and was identified as rat glypican. Affinity-purified glypican augmented the binding of acidic FGF and basic FGF to human FGF receptor-1 in a cell-free system. This effect was abolished following digestion of glypican by heparinase. Addition of purified soluble glypican effectively replaced heparin in supporting basic FGF-induced cellular proliferation of heparan sulfate-negative cells expressing recombinant FGF receptor-1. In keratinocytes,glypican strongly inhibited the mitogenic response to KGF while enhancing the response to acidic FGF. Taken together, these findings demonstrate that glypican plays an important role in regulating the biological activity of fibroblast growth factors and that, for different growth factors, glypican can either enhance or suppress cellular responsiveness.

Bonneh-barkay D, Shlissel M, Berman B, et al. J Biol Chem. 1997;272(19):12415-21.


Exosomes are lipid-bilayer-enclosed extracellular vesicles that contain proteins and nucleic acids. They are secreted by all cells and circulate in the blood. Specific detection and isolation of cancer-cell-derived exosomes in the circulation is currently lacking. Using mass spectrometry analyses, we identify a cell surface proteoglycan, glypican-1 (GPC1), specifically enriched on cancer-cell-derived exosomes. GPC1(+) circulating exosomes (crExos) were monitored and isolated using flow cytometry from the serum of patients and mice with cancer. GPC1(+) crExos were detected in the serum of patients with pancreatic cancer with absolute specificity and sensitivity, distinguishing healthy subjects and patients with a benign pancreatic disease from patients with early- and late-stage pancreatic cancer. Levels of GPC1(+) crExos correlate with tumour burden and the survival of pre- and post-surgical patients. GPC1(+) crExos from patients and from mice with spontaneous pancreatic tumours carry specific KRAS mutations, and reliably detect pancreatic intraepithelial lesions in mice despite negative signals by magnetic resonance imaging. GPC1(+) crExos may serve as a potential non-invasive diagnostic and screening tool to detect early stages of pancreatic cancer to facilitate possible curative surgical therapy.

Melo SA, Luecke LB, Kahlert C, et al. Nature. 2015;523(7559):177-82.


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