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Cancer. 1997 Aug 15;80(4):776-87.

Expression of the endogenous galactose-binding protein galectin-3 correlates with the malignant potential of tumors in the central nervous system.

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Cancer Research Laboratory, Henry Ford Health Sciences Center, Detroit, Michigan 48202, USA.



The 31-kilodalton beta-galactoside-binding protein galectin-3 has been associated with cellular transformation and metastasis. Because neural tissues contain large amounts of glycoconjugates, and endogenous carbohydrate-binding proteins have been described in the human brain, the authors examined the expression of galectin-3 in human brain tumors and metastases to the central nervous system.


Brain tumors were categorized by the World Health Organization system and galectin-3 expression by immunoperoxidase staining using a quantitative staining score.


Glioblastomas (Grade 4 astrocytomas) all stained strongly for galectin-3, whereas low grade astrocytomas (Grade 2) did not express the endogenous lectin. Anaplastic astrocytomas (Grade 3) exhibited intermediate expression. The staining score was significantly associated with tumor grade (P < 0.001). Normal brain tissue and benign tumors did not express galectin-3, whereas metastases to the brain were all positive for galectin-3 expression. Metastases expressed significantly more galectin-3 than the primary tumors from which they were derived (P = 0.003).


Galectin-3 expression correlates with the malignant potential of tumors in the central nervous system.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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