Legume lectins: Potential use as a diagnostics and therapeutics against the cancer

Int J Biol Macromol. 2020 Jan 1:142:474-483. doi: 10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2019.09.119. Epub 2019 Oct 5.


Legume lectins are carbohydrate-binding protein and widely distributed in a variety of species of leguminous plants and have drawn increased attention toward cancer. Nowadays, the lectins have been studied for the screening of potential biomarkers which increased its importance in cancer research. Few plant lectins have been shown to destroy cancer cells, suggesting that lectins may have biological potential in cancer treatments. In this review, we present a focused outline of legume lectins in descriptive their complex anti-cancer mechanisms on the bases of their properties of recognition and interacting specifically with carbohydrates binding sites. Existing reports suggested the binding of lectins to cancerous cells with their cell surface markers speculated by histochemistry in vitro and in vivo. In this review, we illuminate the use of legume lectins as a natural source for diagnostics and therapeutics purpose against cancer.

Keywords: Biomarkers; Cancer; Cancer cell lines; Legume lectins; Therapeutics.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Fabaceae / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Plant Lectins / chemistry
  • Plant Lectins / isolation & purification
  • Plant Lectins / therapeutic use*


  • Plant Lectins