Environmental factors, as well as genetic factors, contribute to the increase in prostate cancer cases (PCa), the second leading cause of cancer death in men. This fact calls for the development of more reliable, quick and low-cost early detection tests to distinguish between malignant and benign cases. Abnormal cell glycosylation pattern is a promising PCa marker for this purpose. Proteins, such as lectins can decode the information contained in the glycosylation patterns. Several studies have reported on applications of plant lectins as diagnostic tools for PCa considering the ability to differentiate it from benign cases. In addition, they can be used to detect, separate and differentiate the glycosylation patterns of cells or proteins present in serum, urine and semen. Herein, we present an overview of these studies, showing the lectins that map glycans differentially expressed in PCa, as well as benign hyperplasia (BPH). We further review their applications in biosensors, histochemical tests, immunoassays, chromatography, arrays and, finally, their therapeutic potential. This is the first study to review vegetable lectins applied specifically to PCa.
Copyright © 2018. Published by Elsevier B.V.