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Int J Cancer. 2002 Jun 20;99(6):809-16.

Possible role of galectin-9 in cell aggregation and apoptosis of human melanoma cell lines and its clinical significance.

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Department of Dermatology, Kumamoto University Medical School, Kumamoto, Japan.


Galectin-9 expression was examined in 6 human melanoma cell lines. Among them, MM-BP proliferated with colony formation, but MM-RU failed. RT-PCR analysis revealed evident expression of galectin-9 mRNA in MM-BP but not in MM-RU. MM-BP expressed galectin-9 protein both on the surface and in the cytoplasm, whereas MM-RU expressed it only weakly in the cytoplasm. Exogenous galectin-9 induced in vitro both cell aggregation and apoptosis of MM-RU proliferating without colony formation. Association of galectin-9 expression in melanoma cells with prognosis of the patients bearing melanocytic tumors was further examined. Galectin-9 protein was strongly and homogeneously expressed in melanocytic nevi, but down-regulated in melanoma cells especially in metastatic lesions. High galectin-9 expression was inversely correlated with the progression of this disease, suggesting that high galectin-9 expression in primary melanoma lesions links to a better prognosis.

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