Roles of Galectin-7 in Cancer


Galectins are β-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.