Send to

Choose Destination
Mol Cancer Ther. 2010 Aug;9(8):2208-19. doi: 10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-10-0262. Epub 2010 Aug 3.

Galectin-3 promotes chronic activation of K-Ras and differentiation block in malignant thyroid carcinomas.

Author information

Department of Neurobiology, Tel Aviv University, 69978 Tel-Aviv, Israel.


Anaplastic thyroid carcinomas are deadly tumors that are highly invasive, particularly into the bones. Although oncogenic Ras can transform thyroid cells into a severely malignant phenotype, thyroid carcinomas do not usually harbor ras gene mutations. Therefore, it is not known whether chronically active Ras contributes to thyroid carcinoma cell proliferation, although galectin-3 (Gal-3), which is strongly expressed in thyroid carcinomas but not in benign tumors or normal glands, is known to act as a K-Ras chaperone that stabilizes and drives K-Ras.GTP nanoclustering and signal robustness. Here, we examined the possibility that thyroid carcinomas expressing high levels of Gal-3 exhibit chronically active K-Ras. Using cell lines representing three types of malignant thyroid tumors--papillary, follicular, and anaplastic--we investigated the possible correlation between Gal-3 expression and active Ras content, and then examined the therapeutic potential of the Ras inhibitor S-trans, trans-farnesylthiosalicylic acid (FTS; Salirasib) for thyroid carcinoma. Thyroid carcinoma cells strongly expressing Gal-3 showed high levels of K-Ras.GTP expression, and K-Ras.GTP transmitted strong signals to extracellular signal-regulated kinase. FTS disrupted interactions between Gal-3 and K.Ras, strongly reduced K-Ras.GTP and phospho-extracellular signal-regulated kinase expression, and enhanced the expression of the cell cycle inhibitor p21 as well as of the thyroid transcription factor 1, which is involved in thyroid cell differentiation. FTS also inhibited anaplastic thyroid carcinoma cell proliferation in vitro and tumor growth in nude mice. We conclude that wild-type K-Ras.GTP in association with Gal-3 contributes to thyroid carcinoma malignancy and that Ras inhibition might be a useful treatment strategy against these deadly tumors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire
Loading ...
Support Center