Galectins are a family of lectins that bind β-galactose-containing glycoconjugates and are characterized by carbohydrate-recognition domains (CRDs). Galectins exploit several biological functions, including angiogenesis, regulation of immune cell activities and cell adhesion, in both physiological and pathological processes, as tumor progression. Multiple myeloma (MM) is a plasma cell (PC) malignancy characterized by the tight adhesion between tumoral PCs and bone marrow (BM) microenvironment, leading to the increase of PC survival and drug resistance, MM-induced neo-angiogenesis, immunosuppression and osteolytic bone lesions. In this review, we explore the expression profiles and the roles of galectin-1, galectin-3, galectin-8 and galectin-9 in the pathophysiology of MM. We focus on the role of these lectins in the interplay between MM and BM microenvironment cells showing their involvement in MM progression mainly through the regulation of PC survival and MM-induced angiogenesis and osteoclastogenesis. The translational impact of these pre-clinical pieces of evidence is supported by recent data that indicate galectins could be new attractive targets to block MM cell growth in vivo and by the evidence that the expression levels of LGALS1
, genes encoding for galectin-1 and galectin-8 respectively, correlate to MM patients’ survival.
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