Background: Galectins are known to regulate cell differentiation and growth as well as cell adhesion and apoptosis. Galectins have been discussed as possible prognosticators for survival in renal cell cancer (RCC) and other urological tumors. They might also play an emerging role as possible new marker-proteins for RCC. In this study, we analyzed the expression of galectin-1 and galectin-3 mRNA in order to further investigate their clinical significance in RCC. Methods. Tissue samples were obtained from 106 patients undergoing surgery for RCC. The expression of galectin-1 and galectin-3 mRNA in normal kidney and corresponding cancer tissue was analyzed using quantitative real time PCR. Differences in expression levels of paired tissue samples were assessed using paired two-sample tests. Associations of relative mRNA expression levels in tumor tissues with clinical findings were analyzed using univariate logistic regression. Results: The expression of galectin-1 (p < 0.001) and -3 (p < 0.001) mRNA were significantly higher in RCC when compared to the adjacent normal kidney tissue. For clear cell RCC, an association of male gender with higher galectin-1 and galectin-3 mRNA expression (p = 0.054, p = 0.034) was detected. For all RCCs, galectin-1 mRNA expression failed to show a significant association with advanced disease as well as a higher rate of lymph node metastases (p = 0.058, p = 0.059). Conclusion: The mRNA expression of galectin-1 and galectin-3 is significantly increased in RCC cancer tissue. The higher mRNA expression in tumor tissue of male patients raises the question of a functional connection between galectins and the higher prevalence of RCC in men. Associations with advanced disease might lead to new ways of identifying patients at higher risk of recurrent disease and might even facilitate early metastasectomy with curative intent.
Research Areas and Centers
- Research Area: Luebeck Integrated Oncology Network (LION)