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Brain Pathol. 2010 Jan;20(1):17-27. doi: 10.1111/j.1750-3639.2009.00270.x. Epub 2009 Apr 7.

Galectins and gliomas.

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Laboratory of Toxicology; Institute of Pharmacy, Universite Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium.


Malignant gliomas, especially glioblastomas, are associated with a dismal prognosis. Despite advances in diagnosis and treatment, glioblastoma patients still have a median survival expectancy of only 14 months. This poor prognosis can be at least partly explained by the fact that glioma cells diffusely infiltrate the brain parenchyma and exhibit decreased levels of apoptosis, and thus resistance to cytotoxic drugs. Galectins are a family of mammalian beta-galactoside-binding proteins characterized by a shared characteristic amino acid sequence. They are expressed differentially in normal vs. neoplastic tissues and are known to play important roles in several biological processes such as cell proliferation, death and migration. This review focuses on the role played by galectins, especially galectin-1 and galectin-3, in glioma biology. The involvement of these galectins in different steps of glioma malignant progression such as migration, angiogenesis or chemoresistance makes them potentially good targets for the development of new drugs to combat these malignant tumors.

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