Research Papers:

Galectin-3: a possible complementary marker to the PSA blood test

Vitaly Balan, Yi Wang, Pratima Nangia-Makker, Dhonghyo Kho, Madhuri Bajaj, Daryn Smith, Lance Heilbrun, Avraham Raz _ and Elisabeth Heath

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Oncotarget. 2013; 4:542-549. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.923

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Vitaly Balan1,*, Yi Wang1,*, Pratima Nangia-Makker1, Dhonghyo Kho1, Madhuri Bajaj1, Daryn Smith2, Lance Heilbrun2, Avraham Raz1, and Elisabeth Heath1

1 Department of Oncology, Karmanos Cancer Institute, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI.

2 Department of Biostatistics Core, Karmanos Cancer Institute, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI.

* V. B. and Y. W. contributed equally to this work


Avraham Raz, email:

Vitaly Balan, email:

Keywords: PSA, Galectin-3, blood test, cleavage

Received: March 8, 2013 Accepted: March 28, 2013 Published: March 30, 2013


The prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test has served as a blood marker of prostate cancer (PCa), and for monitoring recurrence/metastasis in patients after therapeutic intervention. However, the applicability/reliability of the PSA test was recently questioned as it is not without challenges, in particular in men who have PCa without an elevated PSA (false negative), or in men who are disease-free with elevated levels of PSA (false positive). Galectin-3 is a tumor-associated protein; present in the seminal fluid and is a substrate for the PSA enzyme e.g., a chymotrypsin-like serine protease. We hypothesized that the cleavage status and level of galectin-3 in the prostate tissue and sera are associated with PCa. Thus, we compared galectin-3 levels obtained from sera of non-cancer urology patients to those of metastatic PCa patients. The data were confirmed by analyzing PCa tissue arrays. Here, we report that galectin-3 levels in the sera of patients with metastatic PCa were uniformly higher as compared to the non-cancer patient controls. The data suggest that galectin-3 serum level may be a useful serum complementary marker to the PSA blood test to be used for initial and follow-up PSA complimentary diagnostic/prognostic tool for recurrence in PCa patients.

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