Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Steroid androgen hormones play a key role in the progression and treatment of prostate cancer, with androgen deprivation therapy being the first-line treatment used to control cancer growth. Here we apply a novel search strategy to identify androgen-regulated cellular pathways that may be clinically important in prostate cancer. Using RNASeq data, we searched for genes that showed reciprocal changes in expression in response to acute androgen stimulation in culture, and androgen deprivation in patients with prostate cancer. Amongst 700 genes displaying reciprocal expression patterns we observed a significant enrichment in the cellular process glycosylation. Of 31 reciprocally-regulated glycosylation enzymes, a set of 8 (GALNT7, ST6GalNAc1, GCNT1, UAP1, PGM3, CSGALNACT1, ST6GAL1 and EDEM3) were significantly up-regulated in clinical prostate carcinoma. Androgen exposure stimulated synthesis of glycan structures downstream of this core set of regulated enzymes including sialyl-Tn (sTn), sialyl Lewis(X) (SLe(X)), O-GlcNAc and chondroitin sulphate, suggesting androgen regulation of the core set of enzymes controls key steps in glycan synthesis. Expression of each of these enzymes also contributed to prostate cancer cell viability. This study identifies glycosylation as a global target for androgen control, and suggests loss of specific glycosylation enzymes might contribute to tumour regression following androgen depletion therapy.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





103 - 116


Androgens, Cell Line, Tumor, Cell Survival, Cluster Analysis, Computational Biology, Dermatan Sulfate, Gene Expression Profiling, Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic, Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic, Glycosylation, High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing, Humans, Male, Prostatic Neoplasms, Transcriptome