Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
Review
. 2015 Apr;1855(2):235-47.
doi: 10.1016/j.bbcan.2015.03.003. Epub 2015 Mar 25.

Galectin Expression in Cancer Diagnosis and Prognosis: A Systematic Review

Affiliations
Review

Galectin Expression in Cancer Diagnosis and Prognosis: A Systematic Review

Victor L Thijssen et al. Biochim Biophys Acta. .

Abstract

Galectins are a family of proteins that bind to specific glycans thereby deciphering the information captured within the glycome. In the last two decades, several galectin family members have emerged as versatile modulators of tumor progression. This has initiated the development and preclinical assessment of galectin-targeting compounds. With the first compounds now entering clinical trials it is pivotal to gain insight in the diagnostic and prognostic value of galectins in cancer as this will allow a more rational selection of the patients that might benefit most from galectin-targeted therapies. Here, we present a systematic review of galectin expression in human cancer patients. Malignant transformation is frequently associated with altered galectin expression, most notably of galectin-1 and galectin-3. In most cancers, increased galectin-1 expression is associated with poor prognosis while elevated galectin-9 expression is emerging as a marker of favorable disease outcome. The prognostic value of galectin-3 appears to be tumor type dependent and the other galectins require further investigation. Regarding the latter, additional studies using larger patient cohorts are essential to fully unravel the diagnostic and prognostic value of galectin expression. Furthermore, to better compare different findings, consensus should be reached on how to assess galectin expression, not only with regard to localization within the tissue and within cellular compartments but also regarding alternative splicing and genomic variations. Finally, linking galectin expression and function to aberrant glycosylation in cancer cells will improve our understanding of how these versatile proteins can be exploited for diagnostic, prognostic and even therapeutic purposes in cancer patients.

Keywords: Clinical trials; Glycobiology; Overall survival; Patients; Therapy; Tumor.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 62 articles

See all "Cited by" articles

LinkOut - more resources

Feedback