Overexpression of galectin-1 at the tumor invasion front is associated with poor prognosis in early-stage oral squamous cell carcinoma

Wei Fan Chiang, Shyun Yeu Liu, Lai Ya Fang, Ching Nan Lin, Ming Heng Wu, Yen Chia Chen, Yuh Ling Chen, Ying Tai Jin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


Metastasis is a final and eventually fatal step in the progression of oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) and typically accompanies a large primary tumor. Metastasis may also present from a small primary tumor and progress rapidly; therefore, early diagnosis is important for patients with small primary tumors. Galectin-1 is one significantly upregulated tumor-associated protein in many neoplasms. To determine the clinical significance of galectin-1, we analyzed its expression in clinical samples by immunohistochemistry and reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction assay. Galectin-1 protein was significantly overexpressed in the tumor-associated stroma as well as the invasion front during early oral carcinogenesis (P <0.05). During the metastatic stage, the only significant immunoreactivity was at the tumor invasion front (P <0.05). Although galectin-1 mRNA was not significantly upregulated in the whole cancerous tissue, it was upregulated in stromal parts during early-stage OSCC and in epithelial parts at the metastatic stage. Survival analysis and a Cox's proportional hazards model showed that synchronous upregulation of galectin-1 protein and mRNA was correlated with worse disease-free survival in early-stage OSCC (P = 0.024 and P = 0.047, respectively). Our findings suggest that galectin-1 upregulation at the tumor invasion front might be a predictor of early metastasis in oral carcinogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-334
Number of pages10
JournalOral Oncology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Galectin-1
  • Invasion front
  • Oral squamous cell carcinoma
  • Tumor microenvironment
  • Tumor-associated stroma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oral Surgery
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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