Synergistic interaction between galectin-3 and carcinoembryonic antigen promotes colorectal cancer metastasis.

PMID 28977916


In this study, we investigated the role of galectin-3 and carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) in metastasis and survival of colorectal cancer (CRC) patients. CEA interacted with galectin-3 at the cell surface and cytoplasm of Caco2 and DLD1 CRC cells. Knocking down galectin-3 did not affect CEA expression in CRC cells. However, there was a dose-dependent increase in CRC cell migration upon addition of small amounts of exogenous CEA (≤1ng/ml). Galectin-3 knockdown blocked induction of CRC cell migration by CEA, suggesting interaction between galectin-3 and CEA was necessary for CRC cell migration. Exogenous CEA and galectin-3 synergistically promoted migration of galectin-3 knockdown DLD1 cells. Immunohistochemical analysis showed that CEA co-localized with galectin-3 in CRC patient tissues. In additon, advanced stage CRC patients had higher serum galectin-3 and CEA levels than early stage CRC patients. High serum CEA and galectin-3 levels correlated with advanced N stage and poor survival in CRC patients. These findings suggest interaction between galectin-3 and CEA promotes CRC migration and metastasis, and correlates with poor survival of CRC patients. Thus combinatorial therapy targeting galectin-3 and CEA may improve outcomes for advanced stage CRC patients.