Galectin-1 expression in cancer-associated stromal cells correlates tumor invasiveness and tumor progression in breast cancer

Int J Cancer. 2007 Jun 1;120(11):2331-8. doi: 10.1002/ijc.22434.


Understanding the molecular background of breast cancer biology is critical in developing new biomarkers for earlier diagnosis and more optimized treatment. We performed a proteomic analysis of human breast carcinoma tissues to investigate the tumor-specific protein expression in breast carcinoma. Using 2-dimensional electorphoresis (2-DE) and matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization-time of flight-mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF-MS), we were able to identify a list of proteins which are upregulated in cancerous tissue. There was significant increase of galectin-1 expression in all cancerous tissues compared to noncancerous tissues, and its increased expression was further confirmed by western blot immunostaining. Subsequent immunohistochemical staining against galectin-1 in 105 breast cancer specimens showed significant correlation between galectin-1 expression in cancer-associated stromal cells and tumor invasiveness, T stage, TNM stage, and axillary lymph node metastasis. Galectin-1 expressionin cancer cells showed no correlation to above-mentioned pathologic variables. Hormonal receptor status and galectin-1 expression showed no correlation. This study demonstrates the upregulation of galectin-1 in breast carcinoma tissues and the clinical significance of galectin-1 in breast cancer patients. Our data supports the recently highlighted roles of galectin-1 in cancer-associated stroma and in tumor immune privilege.

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Blotting, Western
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • DNA Primers
  • Disease Progression
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Galectin 1 / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness*
  • Proteomics
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization
  • Stromal Cells / metabolism*


  • DNA Primers
  • Galectin 1