Galectin-1, -3 and -9 Expression and Clinical Significance in Squamous Cervical Cancer

Simone Punt, Victor L. Thijssen, Johannes Vrolijk, Cornelis D. de Kroon, Arko Gorter, Ekaterina S. Jordanova

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Galectins are proteins that bind β-galactoside sugars and provide a new type of potential biomarkers and therapeutic targets in cancer. Galectin-1, -3 and -9 have become the focus of different research groups, but their expression and function in cervical cancer is still unclear. The aim of this study was to determine the phenotype of galectin-1, -3 and -9 expressing cells and the association with clinico-pathological parameters in cervical cancer. Galectin expression was scored in tumor cells, tumor epithelium infiltrating immune cells and stromal cells in squamous cervical cancer (n = 160). Correlations with clinico-pathological parameters and survival were studied according to the REMARK recommendations. We additionally investigated whether the galectins were expressed by tumor cells, fibroblasts, macrophages and T cells. Galectin-1 and -9 were both expressed by tumor cells in 11% of samples, while 84% expressed galectin-3. Strong galectin-1 expression by tumor cells was an independent predictor for poor survival (hazard ratio: 8.02, p = 0.001) and correlated with increased tumor invasion (p = 0.032) and receiving post-operative radiotherapy (p = 0.020). Weak and positive tumor cell galectin-3 expression were correlated with increased and decreased tumor invasion, respectively (p = 0.012). Tumor cell expression of galectin-9 showed a trend toward improved survival (p = 0.087). The predominant immune cell type expressing galectin-1, -3 and -9 were CD163+ macrophages. Galectin-1 and -3 were expressed by a minor population of T cells. Galectin-1 was mainly expressed by fibroblasts in the tumor stroma. To conclude, while tumor cell expression of galectin-9 seemed to represent a beneficial response, galectin-1 expression might be used as a marker for a more aggressive anti-cancer treatment
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0129119
Pages (from-to)e0129119
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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