Roles of Galectin-7 in Cancer

  • Kaur, Manpreet (Department of Human Genetics, Guru Nanak Dev University) ;
  • Kaur, Tarnjeet (Department of Human Genetics, Guru Nanak Dev University) ;
  • Kamboj, Sukhdev Singh (Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Guru Nanak Dev University) ;
  • Singh, Jatinder (Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Guru Nanak Dev University)
  • Published : 2016.03.07


Galectins are ${\beta}$-galactoside binding lectins that contain one or more carbohydrate recognition domains. As a consequence of sugar-binding properties, galectins exhibit a variety of interactions with glycoproteins, thus playing important roles in various pathological processes. A number of studies have shown roles of galectins in cancer. Galectin-7 is a prototype member of the galectin family implicated in epithelial stratification and cell migration. It can act as a potent dual regulator in different types of cancer. Galectin-7 may contribute either to neoplastic transformation and tumour progression through regulation of cell growth, cell cycle, angiogenesis, apoptosis and cell migration or may have a protective effect in cancer depending on the tissue type. A perusal of the literature indicates particular roles of galectin-7 in carcinomas and melanomas, while contributions await greater exploration in other types of cancers including sarcomas and leukemia. This review collectively summarizes available literature on expression and roles of galectin-7 in different cancers.


Supported by : University Grants Commission (UGC)


  1. Alves PM, Godoy GP, Gomes DQ, et al (2011). Significance of galectins-1, -3, -4 and -7 in the progression of squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue. Pathol Res Pract, 207, 236-40.
  2. Balan V, Nangia-Makker P, Raz A (2010). Galectins as cancer biomarkers. Cancers (Basel), 2, 592-10.
  3. Barondes SH, Cooper DN, Gitt MA, Leffler H (1994). Galectins:Structure and function of a large family of animal lectins. J Biol Chem, 269, 20807-10.
  4. Benvenuto G, Carpentieri ML, Salvatore P, et al (1996). Cell-specific transcriptional regulation and reactivation of galectin-1 gene expression are controlled by DNA methylation of the promoter region. Mol Cell Biol, 16, 276-43.
  5. Brewer CF (2004). Thermodynamic binding studies of galectin-1, -3 and -7. Glycoconj, 19, 459-65.
  6. Biron-Pain K, Grosset AA, Poirier F, Gaboury L, St-Pierre Y (2013). Expression and functions of galectin-7 in human and murine melanomas. PLoS One, 8, 63307.
  7. Cada Z, Chovanec M, Smetana K, et al (2009). Galectin-7: will the lectin's activity establish clinical correlations in head and neck squamous cell and basal cell carcinomas? Histol Histopathol, 24, 41-8.
  8. Campion CG, Labrie M, Lavoie G, St-Pierre Y (2013). Expression of galectin-7 is induced in breast cancer cells by mutant p53. PLoS One, 8, 72468.
  9. Campion CG, Labrie M, Grosset AA, St-Pierre Y (2014). The CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein beta-2 isoform ($CEBP{\beta}$-2) upregulates galectin-7 expression in human breast cancer cells. PLoS One, 9, 95087.
  10. Chen J, He QY, Yuen AP, Chiu JF (2004). Proteomics of buccal squamous cell carcinoma: the involvement of multiple pathways in tumorigenesis. Proteomics, 4, 2465-75.
  11. de Vasconcelos Carvalho M, Pereira Jdos S, Alves PM, et al (2013). Alterations in the immunoexpression of galectins-1, -3 and -7 between different grades of oral epithelial dysplasia. J Oral Pathol Med, 42, 174-9.
  12. Demers M, Magnaldo T, St-Pierre Y (2005). A novel function for galectin-7: promoting tumorigenesis by up-regulating MMP-9 gene expression. Cancer Res, 65, 5205-10.
  13. Demers M, Biron-Pain K, Hébert J, et al (2007). Galectin-7 in lymphoma: elevated expression in human lymphoid malignancies and decreased lymphoma dissemination by antisense strategies in experimental model. Cancer Res, 67, 2824-9.
  14. Demers M, Couillard J, Giglia-Mari G, Magnaldo T, St-Pierre Y (2009). Increased galectin-7 gene expression in lymphoma cells is under the control of DNA methylation. Biochem Biophys Res Commun, 387, 425-9.
  15. Demers M, Rose AA, Grosset AA, et al (2010). Overexpression of galectin-7, a myoepithelial cell marker, enhances spontaneous metastasis of breast cancer cells. Am J Pathol, 176, 3023-31.
  16. Duray A, De Maesschalck T, Decaestecker C, et al (2014). Galectin fingerprinting in naso-sinusal diseases. Oncol Rep, 32, 23-32.
  17. George J, Srivastava AK, Singh R, Shukla Y (2011). Cypermethrin exposure leads to regulation of proteins expression involved in neoplastic transformation in mouse skin. Proteomics, 11, 4411-21.
  18. Grosset AA, Labrie M, Gagne D, et al (2014). Cytosolic galectin-7 impairs p53 functions and induces chemo resistance in breast cancer cells. BMC Cancer, 14, 801.
  19. Hughes RC (1999). Secretion of the galectin family of mammalian carbohydrate-binding proteins. Biochim Biophys Acta, 1473, 172-85.
  20. Kim HJ, Jeon HK, Lee JK, et al (2013a). Clinical significance of galectin-7 in epithelial ovarian cancer. Anticancer Res, 33, 1555-61.
  21. Kim SJ, Hwang JA, Ro JY, Lee YS, Chun KH (2013b). Galectin-7 is epigenetically-regulated tumor suppressor in gastric cancer. Oncotarget, 4, 1461-71.
  22. Labrie M, Vladoiu MC, Grosset AA, Gaboury L, St-Pierre Y (2014). Expression and functions of galectin-7 in ovarian cancer. Oncotarget, 5, 7705-21.
  23. Leffler H, Carlsson S, Hedlund M, Qian Y, Poirier F (2004). Introduction to galectins. Glycocon, 19, 433-40.
  24. Liu FT, Rabinovich GA (2005). Galectins as modulators of tumour progression. Nat Rev Cancer, 5, 29-41.
  25. Lu J, Pei H, Kaeck M, Thompson HJ (1997). Gene expression changes associated with chemically induced rat mammary carcinogenesis. Mol Carcinog, 20, 204-15.<204::AID-MC7>3.0.CO;2-M
  26. Magnaldo T, Bernerd F, Darmon M (1995). Galectin-7, a human 14-kDa S-lectin, specifically expressed in keratinocytes and sensitive to retinoic acid. Dev Biol, 168, 259-71.
  27. Magnaldo T, Fowlis D, Darmon M (1998). Galectin-7, a marker of all types of stratified epithelia. Differentiation, 63, 159-68.
  28. Matsui Y, Ueda S, Watanabe J, Kuwabara I, Ogawa O, Nishiyama H (2007). Sensitizing effect of galectin-7 in urothelial cancer to cisplatin through the accumulation of intracellular reactive oxygen species. Cancer Res, 67, 1212-20.
  29. Matsukawa S, Morita K, Negishi A, et al (2014). Galectin-7 as a potential predictive marker of chemo- and/or radio-therapy resistance in oral squamous cell carcinoma. Cancer Med, 3, 349-61.
  30. Meng QS, Jin S, Zhang QH, Zhang M (2010). Differential proteins analysis among human nasal inverted papilloma and nasal polyposis and normal nasal mucosa. Zhonghua Er Bi Yan HouTou Jing Wai Ke Za Zhi, 45, 314-7.
  31. Moisan S, Demers M, Mercier J, et al (2003). Upregulation of galectin-7 in murine lymphoma cells is associated with progression toward an aggressive phenotype. Leukemia, 17, 751-9.
  32. Newlaczyl AU, Yu LG (2011). Galectin-3--a jack-of-all-trades in cancer. Cancer Lett, 313, 123-8.
  33. Ostergaard M, Rasmussen HH, Nielsen HV, et al (1997). Proteome profiling of bladder squamous cell carcinomas: identification of markers that define their degree of differentiation. Cancer Res, 57, 4111-7.
  34. Park JE, Chang WY, Cho M (2009). Induction of matrix metalloproteinase-9 by galectin-7 through p38 MAPK signaling in HeLa human cervical epithelial adenocarcinoma cells. Oncol Rep, 22, 1373-9.
  35. Polyak K, Xia Y, Zweier J, Kinzler K, Vogelstein B (1997). A model for p53-induced apoptosis. Nature, 389, 300-5.
  36. Rorive S, Eddafali B, Fernandez S, et al (2002). Changes in galectin-7 and cytokeratin-19 expression during the progression of malignancy in thyroid tumors: diagnostic and biological implications. Mod Pathol, 15, 1294-301.
  37. Ruebel KH, Jin L,Qian X, et al (2005). Effects of DNA methylation on galectin-3 expression in pituitary tumors. Cancer Res, 65, 1136-40.
  38. Satelli A, Rao PS, Gupta PK, et al (2008). Varied expression and localization of multiple galectins in different cancer cell lines. Oncol Rep, 19, 587-94.
  39. Sato M, Nishi N, Shoji H, et al(2002). Quantification of galectin-7 and its localization in adult mouse tissues. J Biochem, 131, 255-60.
  40. Saussez S, Kiss R (2006). Galectin-7. Cell Mol Life Sci, 63, 686-97.
  41. Saussez S, Cucu DR, Decaestecker C, et al (2006). Galectin 7 (p53-induced gene 1): a new prognostic predictor of recurrence and survival in stage IV hypopharyngeal cancer. Ann Surg Oncol, 13, 999-1009.
  42. Saussez S, Decaestecker C, Lorfevre F, et al (2008a). Increased expression and altered intracellular distribution of adhesion/growth-regulatory lectins galectins-1 and -7 during tumour progression in hypopharyngeal and laryngeal squamous cell carcinomas. Histopathology, 52, 483-93.
  43. Saussez S, Lorfevre F, Lequeux T, et al (2008b). The determination of the levels of circulating galectin-1 and -3 in HNSCC patients could be used to monitor tumor progression and/or responses to therapy. Oral Oncol, 44, 86-93.
  44. Saussez S, Cludts S, Capouillez A, et al (2009). Identification of matrix metalloproteinase-9 as an independent prognostic marker in laryngeal and hypopharyngeal cancer with opposite correlations to adhesion/growth-regulatory galectins-1 and -7. Int J Oncol, 34, 433-9.
  45. Shen J, Riggs PK, Hensley SC, et al (2007). Differential expression of multiple anti-apoptotic proteins in epidermis of IGF-1 transgenic mice as revealed by 2-dimensional gel electrophoresis/mass spectrometry analysis. Mol Carcinog, 46, 331-40.
  46. Shen J, Pavone A, Mikulec C, et al (2007). Protein expression profiles in the epidermis of cyclooxygenase-2 transgenic mice by 2-dimensional gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometry. J Proteome Res, 6, 273-86.
  47. St-Pierre Y, Grosset AA, Labrie M, et al (2015). Galectin-7 increases resistance of breast cancer cells to drug-induced apoptosis and promotes tumor escape by killing T cells. Cancer Res, 75, 7-16.
  48. Tsai CJ, Sulman EP, Eifel PJ, et al (2013). Galectin-7 levels predict radiation response in squamous cell carcinoma of the cervix. Gynecol Oncol, 131, 645-9.
  49. Than TH, Swethadri GK, Wong J, et al (2008). Expression of Galectin-3 and Galectin-7 in thyroid malignancy as potential diagnostic indicators. Singapore Med J, 49, 333-8.
  50. Ueda S, Kuwabara I, Liu FT (2004). Suppression of Tumor Growth by Galectin-7 Gene TransferGalectin-7 levels. Cancer Res, 64, 5672-6.
  51. Vladoiu MC, Labrie M, St-Pierre Y (2014). Intracellular galectins in cancer cells: potential new targets for therapy (Review). Int J Oncol, 44, 1001-14.
  52. Zhu H, Pei HP, Zeng S, et al (2009). Profiling protein markers associated with the sensitivity to concurrent chemoradiotherapy in human cervical carcinoma. J Proteome Res, 8, 3969-76.
  53. Zhu H, Wu TC, Chen WQ, et al (2013). Roles of galectin-7 and S100A9 in cervical squamous carcinoma: Clinicopathological and in vitro evidence. Int J Cancer, 132, 1051-9.
  54. Zhu X, Ding M, Yu ML, et al (2010). Identification of galectin-7 as a potential biomarker for esophageal squamous cell carcinoma by proteomic analysis. BMC Cancer, 10, 290.

Cited by

  1. Galectin-7 in Epithelial Homeostasis and Carcinomas vol.18, pp.12, 2017,
  2. Galectin Targeted Therapy in Oncology: Current Knowledge and Perspectives vol.19, pp.1, 2018,
  3. Serum Galectin 7 is Not Useful to Predict Abortion in the First Trimester vol.37, pp.3, 2018,