Cancer science

Galectin-4 serves as a prognostic biomarker for the early recurrence / metastasis of hepatocellular carcinoma.

PMID 25230111


Galectin-4 is a multifunctional lectin found at both intracellular and extracellular sites. It could serve as a tumor suppressor intracellularly and promote tumor metastases extracellularly during colorectal cancer development. However, galectin-4 expression and its prognostic value for patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) have not been well investigated. Here we report that galectin-4 was significantly downregulated in early recurrent/metastatic HCC patients, when compared to non-recurrent/metastatic HCC patients. Low expression of gelectin-4 was well associated with larger tumor size, microvascular invasion, malignant differentiation, more advanced TNM stage, and poor prognosis. Cancer cell migration and invasion could be significantly reduced through overexpression of galectin-4, but upregulated by knocking down of galectin-4 in vitro. Moreover, the serum galectin-4 level could be significantly elevated solely by hepatitis B virus infection. Combined with clinicopathological features, the higher serologic level of galectin-4 was well associated with more aggressive characteristics of HCC. Taken together, galectin-4 expression closely associates with HCC progression and might have potential use as a prognostic biomarker for HCC patients.