Galectin-3--a jack-of-all-trades in cancer

Cancer Lett. 2011 Dec 27;313(2):123-8. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2011.09.003. Epub 2011 Sep 17.


Galectin-3 is a mammalian β-galactoside-binding protein that is expressed by various types of human cells. Changes in galectin-3 expression and subcellular and intercellular localizations are commonly seen in cancer and pre-cancerous conditions. It is increasingly recognized that galectin-3 is an important regulator of a broad range of cancer cell activities and plays important roles in cancer cell growth, transformation, apoptosis, angiogenesis, adhesion, invasion and metastasis. Such a divergent influence of galectin-3 on cancer cell activities derives from its multiple inter- and sub-cellular localizations where it interacts with a range of different binding partners. This mini-review summaries the diverse influences of galectin-3 on cancer cell behaviours with particular emphasis on its role in tumorigenesis and metastasis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis / physiology
  • Cell Adhesion / physiology
  • Galectin 3 / chemistry
  • Galectin 3 / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / metabolism


  • Galectin 3