Concentrations of galectin-3 in the sera of normal controls and cancer patients.


Iurisci I, Tinari N, Natoli C, Angelucci D, Cianchetti E, Iacobelli S




Clin Cancer Res


Galectin-3, a member of the beta-galactoside-binding animal lectins, has been implicated in tumor invasion and metastasis. Using an immunoligand assay, we assessed the circulating levels of galectin-3 in sera from cancer patients as well as from healthy controls. Low serum levels of galectin-3 were detected in healthy individuals (median, 62 ng/ml; range, 20-313 ng/ml; 95th percentile, 184.3 ng/ml). Compared with healthy individuals, galectin-3 serum levels in patients with breast, gastrointestinal, lung, or ovarian cancer, melanoma, and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma were significantly elevated (P = 0.014). Moreover, galectin-3 concentrations in sera from patients with metastatic disease were higher than in sera from patients with localized tumors. Maximum serum concentrations of galectin-3 (median, 320 ng/ml; range, 20-950 ng/ml) were found in patients with metastatic gastrointestinal carcinoma. These results suggest that circulating galectin-3 may play a role in tumor progression. The possibility of using this assay in early-stage cancer to predict metastasis should be studied.