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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2009 Feb 6;379(2):626-31. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2008.12.153. Epub 2009 Jan 3.

Galectin-3 regulates apoptosis and doxorubicin chemoresistance in papillary thyroid cancer cells.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Brigham and Women's Hospital, 20 Shattuck St., Thorn 1503, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


A subset of patients with papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) present with aggressive disease that is refractory to conventional treatment. Novel therapies are needed to treat this group of patients. Galectin-3 (Gal-3) is a beta-galactoside-binding protein with anti-apoptotic activity. Over 30 studies in the last 3 years have reported that Gal-3 is highly expressed in PTC relative to normal thyrocytes. In this study, we show that Gal-3 silencing with RNA interference stimulates apoptosis, while Gal-3 overexpression protects against both TRAIL- and doxorubicin-induced apoptosis in PTC cells. The anti-apoptotic activity and chemoresistance related to Gal-3 function can be partially reversed through the inhibition of the PI3K-Akt pathway, suggesting that Gal-3 acts, at least in part, on the PI3K-Akt axis. These observations support further evaluation of Gal-3 as a potential therapeutic target in patients with aggressive PTC.

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