A glycan-based plasmonic sensor for prostate cancer diagnosis†
Prostate cancer affects thousands of men who undergo clinical screening tests every year. The main biomarker used for the diagnosis of prostate cancer, prostate specific antigen (PSA), presents limitations that justify investigating new biomarkers to improve reliability. Antibodies against the tumor-associated carbohydrate antigen (Tn), or TACA, develop early in carcinogenesis, making them an interesting alternative as a target for prostate cancer diagnostics. In this work, the Tn antigen was synthesized and immobilized on a surface plasmon resonance sensor coated with a polydopamine/polyethylene oxide mixed layer used both as an anchoring surface for Tn capture moieties and to minimize surface fouling. The sensor could be regenerated and reused at least 60 times without any significant loss in sensitivity. Anti-Tn antibodies were detected in the 0–10 nM concentration range with detection limits of 0.1 and 0.3 nM in spiked buffer solutions and diluted human blood serum samples, respectively. Finally, as a proof-of-concept, this carbohydrate-based sensor was used to successfully discriminate blood serum samples from prostate cancer-free and prostate cancer patients.