Circulating galectin-3 in the bloodstream: An emerging promoter of cancer metastasis

World J Gastrointest Oncol. 2010 Apr 15;2(4):177-80. doi: 10.4251/wjgo.v2.i4.177.


Increased concentrations of free circulating galectin-3 are commonly seen in the blood circulation of patients with many types of cancers including colorectal cancer. Recent studies have shown that changes in circulating galectin-3 levels in cancer patients may contribute significantly to the metastatic spread of disseminating cancer cells by enhancing their ability to adhere to blood vessel endothelium and by helping their avoidance of immune surveillance. Thus, targeting the galectin-3 actions in the circulation may hold significant promise for future development of novel therapeutic agents to prevent metastasis and reduce cancer-associated fatality.

Keywords: Cancer cell adhesion; Cancer dissemination metastasis; Circulating galectin-3.