Cancer Res 2011 Jul 5;71(13):4423-31. Epub 2011 May 5.
Department of Radiation Oncology, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA.
Galectin-1 (Gal-1), a carbohydrate-binding protein whose secretion is enhanced by hypoxia, promotes tumor aggressiveness by promoting angiogenesis and T-cell apoptosis. However, the importance of tumor versus host Gal-1 in tumor progression is undefined. Here we offer evidence that implicates tumor Gal-1 and its modulation of T-cell immunity in progression. Comparing Gal-1-deficient mice as hosts for Lewis lung carcinoma cells where Gal-1 levels were preserved or knocked down, we found that tumor Gal-1 was more critical than host Gal-1 in promoting tumor growth and spontaneous metastasis. Enhanced growth and metastasis associated with Gal-1 related to its immunomodulatory function, insofar as the benefits of Gal-1 expression to Lewis lung carcinoma growth were abolished in immunodeficient mice. In contrast, angiogenesis, as assessed by microvessel density count, was similar between tumors with divergent Gal-1 levels when examined at a comparable size. Our findings establish that tumor rather than host Gal-1 is responsible for mediating tumor progression through intratumoral immunomodulation, with broad implications in developing novel targeting strategies for Gal-1 in cancer.