Liver lectin blocking with D-galactose to prevent hepatic metastases in colorectal carcinoma patients

Anticancer Res. 1997 Sep-Oct;17(5B):3767-72.


Animal experiments in BALB/c-mice and in DBA/2-mice confirmed that lectin blockade with D-galactose containing receptor analogues can inhibit metastatic spread into the liver. The number of liver colonies of inoculated tumor cells was significantly reduced after D-galactose treatment as compared to animals of control group. Based on experimental investigations 193 colorectal carcinoma patients (UICC stages I-III) were enrolled in a prospectively randomized clinical trial. 93 patients were treated perioperatively with D-galactose- (treatment group: 1.5 g/kg body weight and per day) or D-glucose containing electrolyte infusions (control group: n = 100). Significant side effects were not observed. There were no cases of perioperative mortality. The overall complication rate was 7.3%. Since tumor stages were unequally distributed, analysis was performed in strata. Patients were observed for a total of 6237 months. Differences in overall survival and survival free of recurrence and hepatic metastases were negligible for stages I and II. For stage III carcinoma patients (n = 75) analysis of survival free of hepatic metastases revealed a shift to delayed events (i.e. hepatic metastases or death) after D-galactose treatment within 24 months following surgery. In patients with stage III carcinoma there was an indication for an overall benefit in survival after D-galactose treatment (p = 0.102).

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animals
  • Colonic Neoplasms / mortality
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Galactose / adverse effects
  • Galactose / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Lectins / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Liver / chemistry
  • Liver Neoplasms / mortality
  • Liver Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Liver Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred DBA
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / mortality
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prospective Studies
  • Rectal Neoplasms / mortality
  • Rectal Neoplasms / pathology*


  • Lectins
  • Galactose