Galectins in tumor angiogenesis
The expansion of solid tumors depends on the continuous ingrowth of new blood vessels out of preexisting capillaries. Consequently, tumor neovascularization or tumor angiogenesis is considered a hallmark of cancer and an attractive target for cancer therapy. Tumor angiogenesis is mainly carried out by endothelial cells (EC), i.e., the cells lining the luminal vessel wall. These cells have to take on different functional activities in order to successfully make new tumor blood vessels. In the last decade it has become apparent that galectins are important regulators of tumor angiogenesis. In the present review we summarize the current knowledge regarding the role galectins in tumor angiogenesis focussing on the endothelial galectins, i.e., gal-1/-3/-8/-9.