Cancer immunology research

Galectin-3 Shapes Antitumor Immune Responses by Suppressing CD8+ T Cells via LAG-3 and Inhibiting Expansion of Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cells.

PMID 25691328


Galectin-3 is a 31-kDa lectin that modulates T-cell responses through several mechanisms, including apoptosis, T-cell receptor (TCR) cross-linking, and TCR downregulation. We found that patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) who responded to a granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor-secreting allogeneic PDA vaccine developed neutralizing antibodies to galectin-3 after immunization. We show that galectin-3 binds activated antigen-committed CD8(+) T cells only in the tumor microenvironment. Galectin-3-deficient mice exhibit improved CD8(+) T-cell effector function and increased expression of several inflammatory genes. Galectin-3 binds to LAG-3, and LAG-3 expression is necessary for galectin-3-mediated suppression of CD8(+) T cells in vitro. Lastly, galectin-3-deficient mice have elevated levels of circulating plasmacytoid dendritic cells, which are superior to conventional dendritic cells in activating CD8(+) T cells. Thus, inhibiting galectin-3 in conjunction with CD8(+) T-cell-directed immunotherapies should enhance the tumor-specific immune response.