Tumor Biology

, Volume 31, Issue 4, pp 277–285 | Cite as

Galectin-3 expression is associated with bladder cancer progression and clinical outcome

  • Giacomo Canesin
  • Pilar Gonzalez-Peramato
  • Joan Palou
  • Manuel Urrutia
  • Carlos Cordón-Cardo
  • Marta Sánchez-Carbayo
Research Article


Galectin-3 belongs to a family of carbohydrate-binding proteins whose function is not fully characterized. However, it is believed to play a role in adhesion, proliferation and apoptosis in solid tumors. We aimed at investigating galectin-3 expression in bladder cancer. Galectin-3 expression was assessed by transcript profiling (U133A arrays) in a series or frozen bladder tumors (n = 105). Immunohistochemistry was performed on tissue arrays containing bladder tumors (n = 389) to evaluate associations of protein expression patterns of galectin-3 with proliferation (Ki67), apoptosis (apopdetek), bcl-2, and clinicopathologic variables. Galectin-3 protein levels were then quantified in 160 urinary specimens of bladder cancer patients and controls by enzymeimmunoanalysis. Galectin-3 gene expression levels increased in invasive tumours as compared with non-muscle invasive lesions (p = 0.001) and were associated with poor survival in patients with advanced disease (p = 0.03). Protein expression patterns also correlated galectin-3 with tumor stage (p < 0.001), grade (p = 0.03), Ki67 and apopdetek (p < 0.001), and overall survival in patients with T1G3 tumors (p < 0.001). Furthermore, galectin-3 urinary levels segregated bladder cancer patients from controls with high diagnostic accuracy (AUC = 0.7). Independent series of bladder tumors showed that transcript and protein levels of galectin-3 were differentially expressed along bladder cancer progression. Urinary protein levels served to identify bladder cancer patients. These observations suggest a role for galectin-3 as a biomarker for bladder cancer diagnostics, staging, and outcome prognosis.


Galectin-3 Bladder cancer Biomarker 



The authors would like to thank all members of Dr. Sánchez-Carbayo for their technical support and constructive suggestions in the preparation of this manuscript. We would like to thank to our collaborators in the Clinical Settings at the University Hospital of Guadalajara, especially Alvaro Serrano, Fundació Puigvert, specially Ferran Algaba, the University Hospital of Salamanca, specially Ruth Ortiz, and the Tissue Procurement Core at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, especially to Cora Mariano, for their support in facilitating the specimens and clinical follow-up of the bladder cancer cases analyzed in this study.


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Copyright information

© International Society of Oncology and BioMarkers (ISOBM) 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Giacomo Canesin
    • 1
  • Pilar Gonzalez-Peramato
    • 2
  • Joan Palou
    • 3
  • Manuel Urrutia
    • 4
  • Carlos Cordón-Cardo
    • 5
  • Marta Sánchez-Carbayo
    • 1
    • 6
  1. 1.Tumor Markers Group, Molecular Pathology ProgramSpanish National Cancer CenterMadridSpain
  2. 2.Pathology DepartmentUniversity Hospital La PazMadridSpain
  3. 3.Urology DepartmentFundació PuigvertBarcelonaSpain
  4. 4.Urology DepartmentUniversity Hospital of SalamancaSalamancaSpain
  5. 5.Pathology DepartmentMemorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer CenterNew YorkUS
  6. 6.Tumor Markers Group, 310ACentro Nacional de Investigaciones OncologicasMadridSpain

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