Involvement of galectin-3 expression in colorectal cancer progression and metastasis

Int J Oncol. 1999 Jul;15(1):143-8. doi: 10.3892/ijo.15.1.143.


Galectin-3 is a beta-galactoside-specific lectin that binds to laminin sugar-sites and is involved in tumor malignancy. Galectin-3 expression in relation to primary tumor and liver metastasis of colorectal cancer was examined to determined its involvement in cancer progression and metastasis. Immunohistochemical staining of galectin-3 was performed on 117 primary lesions and 15 liver metastases of colorectal cancer using TIB166 monoclonal antibody. The expression of galectin-3 was evaluated by grading the intensity of the staining as either negative, weakly positive, or strongly positive. Normal mucosa of all patients were strongly positive for galectin-3, but the staining in these tissues was still significantly less than in the primary lesions of the cancer (31.6%). Galectin-3 expression in the primary lesions was significantly increased, correlating with the progression of clinical stage (p=0. 0224), liver metastasis (p<0.0001), venous invasion (p=0.0048), and lymph node metastasis (p=0.0289). Liver metastatic lesions also showed up-regulated levels of galectin-3 compared to the primary lesions (p=0.0030). The group showing strongly positive galectin-3 had a significantly poorer prognosis than the negative/weakly positive group in terms of disease-free survival (p=0.0224). The strong expression of galectin-3 in colorectal cancer correlates with cancer progression, liver metastasis, and poor prognosis for patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / genetics*
  • Adenocarcinoma / metabolism
  • Adenocarcinoma / mortality
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Adenocarcinoma / secondary
  • Antigens, Differentiation / biosynthesis
  • Antigens, Differentiation / genetics
  • Antigens, Differentiation / physiology*
  • Colon / metabolism
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / mortality
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Disease Progression
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Galectin 3
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Life Tables
  • Liver Neoplasms / secondary
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / genetics*
  • Neoplasm Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Neoplasm Proteins / genetics
  • Neoplasm Proteins / physiology*
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prognosis
  • Survival Analysis


  • Antigens, Differentiation
  • Galectin 3
  • Neoplasm Proteins