• galectin-9;
  • melanoma cell;
  • cell aggregation;
  • apoptosis;
  • prognosis


Galectin-9 expression was examined in 6 human melanoma cell lines. Among them, MM-BP proliferated with colony formation, but MM-RU failed. RT-PCR analysis revealed evident expression of galectin-9 mRNA in MM-BP but not in MM-RU. MM-BP expressed galectin-9 protein both on the surface and in the cytoplasm, whereas MM-RU expressed it only weakly in the cytoplasm. Exogenous galectin-9 induced in vitro both cell aggregation and apoptosis of MM-RU proliferating without colony formation. Association of galectin-9 expression in melanoma cells with prognosis of the patients bearing melanocytic tumors was further examined. Galectin-9 protein was strongly and homogeneously expressed in melanocytic nevi, but down-regulated in melanoma cells especially in metastatic lesions. High galectin-9 expression was inversely correlated with the progression of this disease, suggesting that high galectin-9 expression in primary melanoma lesions links to a better prognosis. © 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.