Background: Knowledge of the expression of the galectins in human colon carcinomas is mainly restricted to galectin-3 and, to a lesser extent, galectin-1. The current study analyzed the prognostic values contributed by galectin-1, galectin-3, galectin-4, and galectin-8 in cases of colon carcinoma.
Methods: The authors selected 55 colon carcinomas (including 10 Dukes A, 16 Dukes B, 15 Dukes C, and 14 metastatic tumors that the authors labeled "Stage D"). The immunohistochemical levels of expression of the four galectins were determined quantitatively by means of computer-assisted microscopy.
Results: The data from the current study indicate that the four galectins under study are associated with significant and separate prognostic values that depend on the Dukes stage of the colon tumor. In particular, the authors observed a significant prognostic value associated with galectins-1, -3, and -4 in Dukes A and B colon tumors. In addition, significant prognostic value also was associated with galectin-8 in Dukes C and D colon tumors. The prognostic values associated with the levels of expression of galectin-1 and galectin-4 in Dukes A and B tumors appear to be independent of the Dukes stage. The same feature was observed when galectin-4 and galectin-8 were analyzed in the complete series.
Conclusions: The data from the current study strongly suggest that galectins-1, -3, and -4 may be involved in the early stages of human colon carcinoma development and that galectin-8 is involved in the later stages.
Copyright 2003 American Cancer Society.