Research Papers:

Increased plasma levels of galectin-1 in pancreatic cancer: potential use as biomarker

Neus Martinez-Bosch, Luis E. Barranco, Carlos A. Orozco, Mireia Moreno, Laura Visa, Mar Iglesias, Lucy Oldfield, John P. Neoptolemos, William Greenhalf, Julie Earl, Alfredo Carrato, Eithne Costello and Pilar Navarro _

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Oncotarget. 2018; 9:32984-32996. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.26034

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Neus Martinez-Bosch1,*, Luis E. Barranco1,2,*, Carlos A. Orozco1,*, Mireia Moreno1, Laura Visa3, Mar Iglesias4, Lucy Oldfield5, John P. Neoptolemos6, William Greenhalf5, Julie Earl7, Alfredo Carrato7, Eithne Costello5 and Pilar Navarro1,8

1Cancer Research Program, IMIM, Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute, Unidad Asociade CSIC, Barcelona, Spain

2Department of Gastroenterology, Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona, Hospital del Mar, Barcelona, Spain

3Department of Medical Oncology, Hospital del Mar, Barcelona, Spain

4Department of Pathology, Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona, Hospital del Mar, CIBERONC, Barcelona, Spain

5Department of Molecular and Clinical Cancer Medicine, Institute of Translational Medicine, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK

6Department of General Surgery, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany

7Department of Medical Oncology, Ramon y Cajal University Hospital, CIBERONC, IRYCIS, Alcala University, Madrid, Spain

8Institute of Biomedical Research of Barcelona (IIBB-CSIC), Barcelona, Spain

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Pilar Navarro, email: [email protected]

Keywords: galectin-1; pancreatic cancer; chronic pancreatitis; biomarker

Received: August 01, 2018     Accepted: August 16, 2018     Published: August 31, 2018


Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) is the most frequent type of pancreatic cancer and one of the deadliest diseases overall. New biomarkers are urgently needed to allow early diagnosis, one of the only factors that currently improves prognosis. Here we analyzed whether the detection of circulating galectin-1 (Gal-1), a soluble carbohydrate-binding protein overexpressed in PDA tissue samples, can be used as a biomarker for PDA. Gal-1 levels were determined by ELISA in plasma from healthy controls and patients diagnosed with PDA, using three independent cohorts. Patients with chronic pancreatitis (CP) were also included in the study to analyze the potential of Gal-1 to discriminate between cancer and inflammatory process. Plasma Gal-1 levels were significantly increased in patients with PDA as compared to controls in all three cohorts. Gal-1 sensitivity and specificity values were similar to that of the CA19-9 biomarker (the only FDA-approved blood test biomarker for PDA), and the combination of Gal-1 and CA19-9 significantly improved their individual discriminatory powers. Moreover, high levels of Gal-1 were associated with lower survival in patients with non-resected tumors. Collectively, our data indicate a strong potential of using circulating Gal-1 levels as a biomarker for detection and prognostics of patients with PDA.

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