Galectin-9 acts as a prognostic factor with antimetastatic potential in hepatocellular carcinoma

Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2012;13(6):2503-9. doi: 10.7314/apjcp.2012.13.6.2503.


Considerable research has been conducted concerning galectin-9 and carcinomas, but little information is available about any relation with the hepatocellular carcinoma. In this study, we employed a small interfering RNA (siRNA) targeting galectin-9 to down-regulate the expression in HepG2 cells. As a result, after galectin-9 expression was reduced, cell aggregation was suppressed, while other behaviour such as the proliferation, adhesion and invasion to ECM, cell-endothelial adhesion and transendothelial invasion of the cells were markedly enhanced. When tumors of 200 patients with hepatocellular carcinoma were tested for galectin-9 expression by immunohistochemistry, binding levels demonstrated intimate correlations with the histopathologic grade, lymph node metastasis, vascular invasion and intrahepatic metastasis (P<0.05). Moreover, survival analysis indicated that patients with galectin-9 expression had much longer survival time than those with negative lesions, and the Log-rank test indicated that this difference was statistical significant (P<0.0001). The Cox proportional hazards model suggested that negative galectin-9 expression in hepatocellular carcinoma represented a significant risk factor for patient survival. We propose that galectin-9 might be a new prognostic factor with antimetastatic potential in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / pathology
  • Cell Adhesion / genetics
  • Cell Aggregation / genetics
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Extracellular Matrix / genetics
  • Extracellular Matrix / metabolism
  • Female
  • Galectins / biosynthesis
  • Galectins / genetics*
  • Galectins / metabolism*
  • Hep G2 Cells
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Liver Neoplasms / genetics
  • Liver Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Liver Neoplasms / mortality
  • Liver Neoplasms / pathology
  • Lymphatic Metastasis / genetics
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness / genetics*
  • Prognosis
  • RNA Interference
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Survival Analysis


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Galectins
  • LGALS9 protein, human
  • RNA, Small Interfering