Galectin-1 and galectin-3, two beta-galactoside-binding proteins, have been suggested to play a role in the development and progression of cancer. We have studied the expression of these molecules in normal human prostate tissue and prostate adenocarcinoma. Immunohistochemistry was used to examine formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded sections of seven normal human prostates, eight cases of prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN), 20 primary adenocarcinomas of the prostate, and 12 prostate cancer metastases. Galectin-1 was expressed in most cases of all four histologic types. In contrast, galectin-3 expression was significantly decreased in primary carcinoma and metastatic disease compared with normal and premalignant tissue. Galectin-3 expression in primary tumors tended to be less than that of surrounding normal glands. We conclude that loss of galectin-3 expression may be associated with the progression of prostate cancer.