Development of effective ways to detect metastases is highly desirable for improving the therapeutic strategies and survival of cancer patients. Serum levels of galectin-3 and -4, two members of the galactoside-binding galectin family, have recently been reported to be markedly increased up to 31-fold in the bloodstream of colorectal cancer patients and in particular those with metastases.
We found that simultaneous determination of serum galectin-3 and -4 levels in a single assay provides a high specificity and sensitivity in distinguishing colorectal cancer patients without metastases from those with liver metastases. This result was partly attributed by a reciprocal relationship of serum galectin-3 and -4 levels in patients with metastases. Higher serum galectin-3/-4 levels at the time of primary tumour removal in patients who did not exhibit clinically detectable metastases were associated with a trend of a poorer patients’ survival in the next 10 years.
Simultaneous determination of serum galectin-3 and -4 levels can potentially be used alone or in combination with other assessments to detect colorectal cancer metastases.
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This study was supported by a North West Cancer Research Fund grant CR777 (to LGY).
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The authors declare no conflict of interest.
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Barrow, H., Rhodes, J.M. & Yu, LG. Simultaneous determination of serum galectin-3 and -4 levels detects metastases in colorectal cancer patients. Cell Oncol. 36, 9–13 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13402-012-0109-1
- Colorectal cancer