Targeting galectin-1 for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer

R. Heusschen1, I. Schulkens1, A.W. Griffioen1, H.M. Verheul1, V.L.J.L. Thijssen1,2 
Depts. of 1Medical Oncology, VU University Medical Center, and 2Radiotherapy, VU University Medical Center
Grant: KWF


The purpose of this proposal is to investigate the role of galectin-1 in tumor angiogenesis and to develop novel galectin-1 based cancer therapies. 
We provided evidence that tumor derived galectin-1 can act as a pro-angiogenesis factor. Exogenous galectin-1 specifically promotes endothelial H-Ras signaling towards the Raf/Mek/Erk pathway and it stimulates endothelial cell migration and proliferation. Analysis of gal-1 expression suggests the existence of two galectin transcipts that are differentially regulated during angiogenesis. A literature review was performed to identify the miRNAs that are potentially involved in the regulation of galectin-1 expression during tumor angiogenesis. In addition, initial yeast two-hybrid screens were performed to identify endogenous galectin-1 binding molecules.