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PLoS One. 2011;6(7):e21811. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0021811. Epub 2011 Jul 13.

Galectin-3C inhibits tumor growth and increases the anticancer activity of bortezomib in a murine model of human multiple myeloma.

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Division of Hematology & Oncology, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and Southwest Cancer Treatment and Research Center, Lubbock, Texas, United States of America.


Galectin-3 is a human lectin involved in many cellular processes including differentiation, apoptosis, angiogenesis, neoplastic transformation, and metastasis. We evaluated galectin-3C, an N-terminally truncated form of galectin-3 that is thought to act as a dominant negative inhibitor, as a potential treatment for multiple myeloma (MM). Galectin-3 was expressed at varying levels by all 9 human MM cell lines tested. In vitro galectin-3C exhibited modest anti-proliferative effects on MM cells and inhibited chemotaxis and invasion of U266 MM cells induced by stromal cell-derived factor (SDF)-1α. Galectin-3C facilitated the anticancer activity of bortezomib, a proteasome inhibitor approved by the FDA for MM treatment. Galectin-3C and bortezomib also synergistically inhibited MM-induced angiogenesis activity in vitro. Delivery of galectin-3C intravenously via an osmotic pump in a subcutaneous U266 cell NOD/SCID mouse model of MM significantly inhibited tumor growth. The average tumor volume of bortezomib-treated animals was 19.6% and of galectin-3C treated animals was 13.5% of the average volume of the untreated controls at day 35. The maximal effect was obtained with the combination of galectin-3C with bortezomib that afforded a reduction of 94% in the mean tumor volume compared to the untreated controls at day 35. In conclusion, this is the first study to show that inhibition of galectin-3 is efficacious in a murine model of human MM. Our results demonstrated that galectin-3C alone was efficacious in a xenograft mouse model of human MM, and that it enhanced the anti-tumor activity of bortezomib in vitro and in vivo. These data provide the rationale for continued testing of galectin-3C towards initiation of clinical trials for treatment of MM.

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