INTRODUCTION: Thymic epithelial tumors (TET) are rare malignancies with a paucity of data on biology and therapeutics. Galectin-1 is a member of the beta-galactoside binding protein family and has been shown to mediate tumor growth via modulation of immune cell function. This study examined galectin-1 expression in TET.PATIENTS AND METHODS: A tissue microarray of 68 patients with TET and 8 benign thymus controls were stained for galectin-1 expression and scored by a pathologist blinded to patient clinical and pathologic data. Galectin-1 expression+1 or greater staining intensity was considered positive. Clinical and pathologic data were abstracted from institutional databases. Expression of galectin-1 in thymic tumor was compared to benign thymus controls and correlated with pertinent clinical and pathologic data.RESULTS: Galectin-1 expression was higher in TET compared to benign thymus controls (65% vs. 0%). No significant association between galectin-1 expression and the development of recurrent disease, paraneoplastic syndromes, or overall survival was noted.CONCLUSION: Galectin-1 is overexpressed in the majority of TET. Detection of galectin-1 may differentiate benign from neoplastic thymic processes. Additional studies are needed to assess the role of galectin-1 in the development of TET.
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