Glycoconjugate Journal

, Volume 24, Issue 8, pp 411–420 | Cite as

The oncofetal Thomsen–Friedenreich carbohydrate antigen in cancer progression

  • Lu-Gang YuEmail author


The oncofetal Thomsen–Friedenreich carbohydrate antigen (Galβ1-3GalNAcα1-Ser/Thr TF or T antigen) is a pan-carcinoma antigen highly expressed by about 90% of all human carcinomas. Its broad expression and high specificity in cancer have attracted many investigations into its potential use in cancer diagnosis and immunotherapy. Over the past few years increasing evidence suggests that the increased TF occurrence in cancer cells may be functionally important in cancer progression by allowing increased interaction/communication of the cells with endogenous carbohydrate-binding proteins (lectins), particularly the members of the galactoside-binding galectin family. This review focuses on the recent progress in understanding of the regulation and functional significance of increased TF occurrence in cancer progression and metastasis.


TF antigen Cancer metastasis Glycosylation Adhesion Galectins 



The author thanks Professor Jonathan Rhodes for his critical reading of the manuscript. The work in the author’s laboratory is supported by grants from Cancer Research UK (C7595), the Royal Society (R1/2768) and the Mizutani Foundation for Glycosciences (040002).


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Henry Wellcome Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Gastroenterology, School of Clinical ScienceUniversity of LiverpoolLiverpoolUK

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