The role of Galectin-3 in modulating tumor growth and immunosuppression within the tumor microenvironment

Oncoimmunology. 2018 Feb 20;7(6):e1434467. doi: 10.1080/2162402X.2018.1434467. eCollection 2018.


The efficacy of cancer immunotherapy is limited, in part, by the multitude of immunosuppressive mechanisms present within the tumor microenvironment (TME). Galectin-3 (Gal-3) is a lectin that contributes to TME immunosuppression and regulates diverse functions including cellular homeostasis and cancer biology. Increased Gal-3 expression during cancer progression augments tumor growth, invasiveness, metastatic potential, and immune suppression, which highlights the potential use of Gal-3 as a therapeutic target capable of modulating anti-tumor immunity. Here, we discuss the mechanisms by which Gal-3 regulates lymphocytes, the role of Gal-3 in lung and prostate tumors, and the contribution of Gal-3 to TME immunosuppression.

Keywords: galectin-3; immunosuppression; immunotherapy; lectin; tumor immunology; tumor microenvironment.

Publication types

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