Galectin-3 and cancer (Review)

Int J Oncol. 2004 Oct;25(4):983-92.


Galectin-3 is a pleiotropic carbohydrate-binding protein involved in a variety of normal and pathological biological processes. Its carbohydrate-binding properties constitute the basis for cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions and cancer progression. Modulation of galectin-3 expression in cancer cells has indeed been reported. These observations lead to the recognition of galectin-3 as a diagnostic/prognostic marker for specific cancer types, such as thyroid and prostate. This review discusses the expression and cellular localization of galectin-3 in cancer cells, as well as its numerous functions in cancer cell biology, including cell-cell adhesion, cell-matrix interactions, growth regulation, apoptosis, angiogenesis and mRNA splicing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alternative Splicing
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cell Communication
  • Cell Movement
  • Galectin 3 / analysis*
  • Galectin 3 / chemistry
  • Galectin 3 / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplasms / chemistry*
  • Neoplasms / pathology


  • Galectin 3