Journal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology

, Volume 144, Issue 11, pp 2109–2115 | Cite as

Fucosylation genes as circulating biomarkers for lung cancer

  • Qixin Leng
  • Jen-Hui Tsou
  • Min Zhan
  • Feng JiangEmail author
Original Article – Cancer Research



Fucosyltransferases (FUTs) catalyze fucosylation, which plays a central role in biological processes. Aberrant fucosylation is associated with malignant transformation. Here we investigated whether transcriptional levels of genes coding the FUTs in plasma could provide cell-free circulating biomarkers for lung cancer.


mRNA expression of all 13 Futs (Fut1-11, Pofut1, and Pofut2) was evaluated by PCR assay in 48 lung tumor tissues and the 48 matched noncancerous lung tissues, and plasma of 64 lung cancer patients and 32 cancer-free individuals to develop plasma Fut biomarkers. The developed plasma Fut biomarkers were validated in an independent cohort of 40 lung cancer patients and 20 controls for their diagnostic performance.


Four of the 13 Futs showed a different transcriptional level in 48 lung tumor tissues compared with the 48 matched nonconscious tissues (all < 0.05). Two (Fut8, and Pofut1) of the four Futs had a higher plasma level in 64 lung cancer patients compared with 32 control subjects, and consistent with that in lung tissue specimens. Combined analysis of the two Futs produced 81% sensitivity and 86% specificity for diagnosis of lung cancer, and was independent of stage and histology of lung tumors. The diagnostic performance of the two plasma biomarkers was successfully validated in the different cohort of 40 lung cancer patients and 20 control individuals.


The fucosylation genes may provide new circulating biomarkers for the early detection of lung cancer.


Diagnosis Lung cancer Plasma Fucosyltransferases Biomarkers 



This work was supported in part by NCI R21CA205746, VA Merit Award I01 CX000512, Award from the Geaton and JoAnn DeCesaris Family Foundation, and Maryland Innovation Initiative (MII) Commercialization Program-Phase 1/2 Grant (F.J.)

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors. All participants were provided with information about the research project that was understandable and that permitted them to make an informed and voluntary decision about whether or not to participate.

Supplementary material

432_2018_2735_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (10 kb)
Supplementary table 1. Primers and probes of 13 Futs (XLSX 10 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PathologyThe University of Maryland School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Department of Epidemiology and Public HealthUniversity of Maryland School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA

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