Tumor-associated galectin-3 modulates the function of tumor-reactive T cells

Weiyi Peng, Helen Yicheng Wang, Yoshihiro Miyahara, Guangyong Peng, Rongfu Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

104 Scopus citations


T cells play an important role in cancer immunosurveillance and tumor destruction. However, tumor cells alter immune responses by modulating immune cells through antigen stimulation and immunoregulatory cytokines. A better understanding of the interplay between tumor cells and T cells might provide new strategies to enhance antitumor immunity. Through an antigen-screening approach using colorectal tumor-reactive T cells, we identified an HLA-DR11-restricted T-cell epitope encoded by KIAA0040 as well as MHC-unrestricted human galectin-3 (Gal-3) expressed by tumor cells. Although the biological function of KIAA0040 remains to be determined, we found that Gal-3 functioned as an immune regulator for direct T-cell activation and function. T-cell activation induced by Gal-3 resulted in T-cell apoptosis. We showed that a high level of expression of Gal-3 promoted tumor growth in vitro and in vivo. Using a mouse tumor model, we showed that delivery of high doses of Gal-3 inhibited tumor-reactive T cells and promoted tumor growth in mice receiving tumor-reactive CD8+ T cells. These findings suggest that Gal-3 may function as an immune regulator to inhibit T-cell immune responses and promote tumor growth, thus providing a new mechanism for tumor immune tolerance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7228-7236
Number of pages9
JournalCancer research
Issue number17
StatePublished - Sep 1 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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