Galectin-3 is a 31-kDa lectin that modulates T-cell responses through several mechanisms, including apoptosis, T-cell receptor (TCR) cross-linking, and TCR downregulation. We found that patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) who responded to a granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor–secreting allogeneic PDA vaccine developed neutralizing antibodies to galectin-3 after immunization. We show that galectin-3 binds activated antigen-committed CD8+ T cells only in the tumor microenvironment. Galectin-3–deficient mice exhibit improved CD8+ T-cell effector function and increased expression of several inflammatory genes. Galectin-3 binds to LAG-3, and LAG-3 expression is necessary for galectin-3–mediated suppression of CD8+ T cells in vitro. Lastly, galectin-3–deficient mice have elevated levels of circulating plasmacytoid dendritic cells, which are superior to conventional dendritic cells in activating CD8+ T cells. Thus, inhibiting galectin-3 in conjunction with CD8+ T-cell–directed immunotherapies should enhance the tumor-specific immune response. Cancer Immunol Res; 3(4); 1–12. ©2015 AACR.
Note: Supplementary data for this article are available at Cancer Immunology Research Online (http://cancerimmunolres.aacrjournals.org/).
- Received August 14, 2014.
- Revision received January 23, 2015.
- Accepted February 8, 2015.
- ©2015 American Association for Cancer Research.