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Int J Cancer. 2007 Jun 1;120(11):2331-8.

Galectin-1 expression in cancer-associated stromal cells correlates tumor invasiveness and tumor progression in breast cancer.

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Department of Surgery, College of Medicine, Gyeongsang National University, Gyeongsang National University Hospital, Jinju, Korea.


Understanding the molecular background of breast cancer biology is critical in developing new biomarkers for earlier diagnosis and more optimized treatment. We performed a proteomic analysis of human breast carcinoma tissues to investigate the tumor-specific protein expression in breast carcinoma. Using 2-dimensional electorphoresis (2-DE) and matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization-time of flight-mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF-MS), we were able to identify a list of proteins which are upregulated in cancerous tissue. There was significant increase of galectin-1 expression in all cancerous tissues compared to noncancerous tissues, and its increased expression was further confirmed by western blot immunostaining. Subsequent immunohistochemical staining against galectin-1 in 105 breast cancer specimens showed significant correlation between galectin-1 expression in cancer-associated stromal cells and tumor invasiveness, T stage, TNM stage, and axillary lymph node metastasis. Galectin-1 expressionin cancer cells showed no correlation to above-mentioned pathologic variables. Hormonal receptor status and galectin-1 expression showed no correlation. This study demonstrates the upregulation of galectin-1 in breast carcinoma tissues and the clinical significance of galectin-1 in breast cancer patients. Our data supports the recently highlighted roles of galectin-1 in cancer-associated stroma and in tumor immune privilege.

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