Sialic Acid Analysis in Cholangiocarcinoma

Sialic Acid Analysis in Cholangiocarcinoma

Glycosylation changes in cholangiocarcinoma include core glycosylation of N-glycans and O-glycans, peripheral fucosylation, and peripheral sialylation. CD BioGlyco has developed Strategies for Sialic Acid Analysis and provides sialic acid analysis services in cholangiocarcinoma for our clients worldwide.


Cholangiocarcinoma is an aggressive malignant tumor originating from bile duct epithelial cells. It accounts for 10%-25% of all hepatobiliary tumors and is the second most common primary liver tumor after hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). According to statistics, in the past 30 years, the incidence and mortality of cholangiocarcinoma have been increasing globally. Cholangiocarcinoma has a higher incidence in Asian countries due to genetic and geographic factors. Currently, surgical resection and chemotherapy are still the main treatment modalities for cholangiocarcinoma. Clinically, patients with cholangiocarcinoma are usually in an advanced stage, with poor prognosis and short survival after surgery.

Abnormal Glycosylation in Cholangiocarcinoma

Aberrant glycosylation is a hallmark of cancer cells and plays a crucial role in cancer biology. A growing number of researchers have identified glycosylation changes and elevated cancer-associated glycans and glycoproteins in cholangiocarcinoma. Global glycosylation changes have been identified in cholangiocarcinoma, including core glycosylation of N- and O-glycans, peripheral fucosylation, and peripheral sialylation. Lectin and mass spectrometry-based methods have been used to study aberrant glycosylation in body fluids, tissues, and cancer cells of patients with cholangiocarcinoma.

Biosynthesis of cholangiocarcinoma-associated glycans. Fig.1 Biosynthesis of cholangiocarcinoma-associated glycans. (Silsirivanit, 2021)

Case: Analysis of Sialylation Changes in Cholangiocarcinoma Tissue by Lectin-Histochemistry

Sialic Acid-Specific Lectins have been used to study and analyze sialylated glycans in human diseases. A study used Maackia amurensis lectin-II (MAL-II) and Sambucus nigra agglutinin (SNA) to analyze α2,3-sialylation and α2,6-sialylation in cholangiocarcinoma tissue. The results showed that both MAL-II-bound α2,3-sialylated glycans and SNA-bound α2,6-sialylated glycans (SNA-SG) were elevated in cholangiocarcinoma compared with normal bile duct tissue.

Data have demonstrated sialylation changes in cholangiocarcinoma. Serum sialic acid is significantly elevated in cholangiocarcinoma patients compared with healthy controls, possibly due to increased associated glycoproteins or glycans such as sialic acid Lewis a (SLea). Abnormal glycans on the surface of cancer cells may be potential cancer biomarkers. For example, SLea attached to mucins and gangliosides is overexpressed in cholangiocarcinoma and can be used clinically for screening, monitoring, and prognosis of cholangiocarcinoma.

CD BioGlyco has been focusing on sialic acid research for many years and has developed a complete sialic acid analysis solution. We provide various cancer-related sialic acid analysis services for our clients worldwide. If you are interested in sialic acid analysis in cholangiocarcinoma, please feel free to contact us.


  1. Wattanavises, S.; et al. Increase of MAL-II binding alpha2, 3-sialylated glycan is associated with 5-FU resistance and short survival of cholangiocarcinoma patients. Medicina. 2019, 55(12): 761.
  2. Silsirivanit, A. Glycans: Potential therapeutic targets for cholangiocarcinoma and their therapeutic and diagnostic implications. Expert opinion on therapeutic targets. 2021, 25(1): 1-4.
This service is for Research Use Only, not intended for any clinical use.

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