Galectins in cancer and the microenvironment: Functional roles, therapeutic developments, and perspectives

Chien Hsiu Li, Yu Chan Chang, Ming Hsien Chan, Yi Fang Yang, Shu Mei Liang*, Michael Hsiao*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Changes in cell growth and metabolism are affected by the surrounding environmental factors to adapt to the cell’s most appropriate growth model. However, abnormal cell metabolism is correlated with the occurrence of many diseases and is accompanied by changes in galectin (Gal) performance. Gals were found to be some of the master regulators of cell–cell interactions that reconstruct the microenvironment, and disordered expression of Gals is associated with multiple human metabolic-related diseases including cancer development. Cancer cells can interact with surrounding cells through Gals to create more suitable conditions that promote cancer cell aggressiveness. In this review, we organize the current understanding of Gals in a systematic way to dissect Gals’ effect on human disease, including how Gals’ dysregulated expression affects the tumor microenvironment’s metabolism and elucidating the mechanisms involved in Gal-mediated diseases. This information may shed light on a more precise understanding of how Gals regulate cell biology and facilitate the development of more effective therapeutic strategies for cancer treatment by targeting the Gal family.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1159
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • Cancer
  • Galectin
  • Metabolism
  • Tumor microenvironment


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