Galectins as Molecular Targets for Therapeutic Intervention

Int J Mol Sci. 2018 Mar 19;19(3):905. doi: 10.3390/ijms19030905.


Galectins are a family of small, highly conserved, molecular effectors that mediate various biological processes, including chemotaxis and angiogenesis, and that function by interacting with various cell surface glycoconjugates, usually targeting β-galactoside epitopes. Because of their significant involvement in various biological functions and pathologies, galectins have become a focus of therapeutic discovery for clinical intervention against cancer, among other pathological disorders. In this review, we focus on understanding galectin structure-function relationships, their mechanisms of action on the molecular level, and targeting them for therapeutic intervention against cancer.

Keywords: apoptosis; cancer; carbohydrates; cell adhesion; galectin-targeted therapeutics; galectins; protein structure.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carbohydrates / chemistry
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Galectins / chemistry
  • Galectins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy*


  • Carbohydrates
  • Galectins