Involvement of decreased Galectin-3 expression in the pathogenesis and progression of prostate cancer

Prostate. 2008 Jan 1;68(1):72-7. doi: 10.1002/pros.20688.


Background: Altered expression or loss of function of Galectin-3 (Gal-3) was suggested to be involved in the pathogenesis and progression of various human cancer entities. The aim of the present study is to determine the expression of Gal-3 in prostate tissue emerging from a benign to a malignant, in the beginning hormone-sensitive and finally hormone-refractory status to further elucidate the role of this carbohydrate-binding protein for the pathogenesis and/or progression of malignant prostatic disease.

Materials and methods: Five hundred and eighty three tissue samples from malignant, tumor adjacent benign, and histologically benign intra-prostatic areas, retrieved out of 25 whole mounted prostate cancer (CaP) specimens and additional 95 samples of hormone-refractory CaP, were processed to tissue microarrays. Immunohistochemical Gal-3 expression was correlated with clinicopathological parameters among the different tissue entities.

Results: Gal-3 expression was significantly decreased in the hormone-sensitive CaP specimens when compared with the respective benign tissue either localized far distant from the malignant lesion (P < 0.0001, Wilcoxon test) or directly neighboring the primary tumor (P < 0.0001). The staining reaction in the benign tissue areas directly neighboring the primary cancerous lesions differed significantly from the benign glands localized distant from the primary tumors (P < 0.001). A statistically highly significant, almost complete loss of Gal-3 was observed in the hormone-refractory when compared with the hormone-sensitive tumors (P < 0.0001; mean staining score: 27.7% vs. 8.5%).

Conclusions: The present investigation clearly indicates decreased expression of Gal-3 to be substantially involved in the pathogenesis and further progression of CaP from benign prostate glands to a finally hormone-refractory malignant disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Androgens / physiology
  • Disease Progression
  • Galectin 3 / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prostate / metabolism*
  • Prostate / pathology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Protein Array Analysis


  • Androgens
  • Galectin 3