Identification of axillary lymph node metastasis in breast cancer patients is a challenge in routine pathology practice. Serial sectioning and immunohistochemistry is labor intensive and cannot be followed even for sentinel node examination. So identification of a biomarker predicting axillary lymph node metastasis in primary tumor tissue is of great interest. Galectins are a family of low molecular weight β-galactoside specific endogenous lectins which functions in cell growth, cell activation, cell-cell and cell-matrix adhesion. The clinical significance of galectins, T-antigen and Bcl-2 were analyzed in a series of 550 patients by immunohistochemistry method and correlated with various clinico pathological features to see whether any of these factors can predict axillary lymph node metastasis in primary tumor tissue. A higher clinical stage (p= <0.0001), presence of vascular and lymphatic tumor emboli (p= <0.0001) and down regulation of galectin-3 (p= < 0.0001) were found to be useful to predict axillary node metastasis. Also down regulation of galectin-3 was found to be associated with poor prognosis (P = 0.0317). Hence evaluation of galectin-3 in primary tumor tissue of breast prior to radical therapy can have some role in predicting of axillary lymph node metastasis and prognosis.
Key words: Galectins, T- antigen, predictor lymph node metastasis breast cancer.
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