We have previously shown that ICAM-1-deficient mice were resistant to lymphoma dissemination of intravenously injected 164T2 lymphoma cells. Highly aggressive variants of this cell line, however, could overcome this resistance. To discern the complex pattern of gene expression involved in the evolution of aggressiveness in lymphoma cells, we compared the transcriptome of 164T2 cells with that of their aggressive variants using cDNA arrays. We identified several genes that were differentially expressed in nonmetastatic lymphoma cells and their metastatic variants. Galectin-7, associated with the development of chemically induced mammary carcinoma, was one such gene whose expression was significantly upregulated. We showed that it was constitutively expressed in aggressive variants, at both mRNA and protein levels. Galectin-7 expression in aggressive lymphoma cells was induced upon in vivo selection in several organs, including the thymus, the spleen and kidneys. We also showed that treatment of nonaggressive lymphoma cells with 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine was sufficient to induce galectin-7 gene expression. This report is the first to show that galectin-7 is expressed in aggressive lymphoma.