Longitudinal changes of serum protein N-Glycan levels for earlier detection of pancreatic cancer in high-risk individuals

I. J.M. Levink*, D. C.F. Klatte, R. G. Hanna-Sawires, G. C.M. Vreeker, I. S. Ibrahim, Y. E.M. van der Burgt, K. A. Overbeek, B. D.M. Koopmann, D. L. Cahen, G. M. Fuhler, M. Wuhrer, B. A. Bonsing, R. A.E.M. Tollenaar, F. P. Vleggaar, H. F.A. Vasen, M. E. van Leerdam, M. J. Bruno, W. E. Mesker

*Corresponding author for this work

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Background: Surveillance of individuals at risk of developing pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) has the potential to improve survival, yet early detection based on solely imaging modalities is challenging. We aimed to identify changes in serum glycosylation levels over time to earlier detect PDAC in high-risk individuals. Methods: Individuals with a hereditary predisposition to develop PDAC were followed in two surveillance programs. Those, of which at least two consecutive serum samples were available, were included. Mass spectrometry analysis was performed to determine the total N-glycome for each consecutive sample. Potentially discriminating N-glycans were selected based on our previous cross-sectional analysis and relative abundances were calculated for each glycosylation feature. Results: 165 individuals (“FPC-cohort” N = 119; Leiden cohort N = 46) were included. In total, 97 (59%) individuals had a genetic predisposition (77 CDKN2A, 15 BRCA1/2, 5 STK11) and 68 (41%) a family history of PDAC without a known genetic predisposition (>10-fold increased risk of developing PDAC). From each individual, a median number of 3 serum samples (IQR 3) was collected. Ten individuals (6%) developed PDAC during 35 months of follow-up; nine (90%) of these patients carried a CDKN2A germline mutation. In PDAC cases, compared to all controls, glycosylation characteristics were increased (fucosylation, tri- and tetra-antennary structures, specific sialic linkage types), others decreased (complex-type diantennary and bisected glycans). The largest change over time was observed for tri-antennary fucosylated glycans, which were able to differentiate cases from controls with a specificity of 92%, sensitivity of 49% and accuracy of 90%. Conclusion: Serum N-glycan monitoring may support early detection in a pancreas surveillance program.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)497-506
Number of pages10
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - May 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to acknowledge R.L.P van Vlierberghe. He does not fulfill the requirements for authorship, yet substantially attributed to the project. The current study was supported by ZonNW project number 531002011 and Genootschap Bollenstreek – Bollenstreekfonds, Lisse-Hillegom, The Netherlands.

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