Open Access Research article

Galectin-1 and Galectin-3 mRNA expression in renal cell carcinoma

Christoph-A von Klot1, Mario W Kramer1, Inga Peters1, Joerg Hennenlotter2, Mahmoud Abbas3, Ralph Scherer4, Thomas RW Herrmann1, Arnulf Stenzl2, Markus A Kuczyk1, Juergen Serth1 and Axel S Merseburger1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Urology and Urological Oncology, Hannover University Medical School, Hannover, Germany

2 Department of Urology, Eberhard Karls University, Tuebingen, Germany

3 Department of Pathology, Hannover University Medical School, Hannover, Germany

4 Institute for Biometry, Hannover University Medical School, Hannover, Germany

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Clinical Pathology 2014, 14:15  doi:10.1186/1472-6890-14-15

Published: 3 April 2014

Abstract

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.

Keywords:
Galectin; Renal cell carcinoma; Biomarker; Prognosis