Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Blockade of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) signaling with bevacizumab, a humanized anti-VEGF monoclonal antibody (mAb), or with receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors, has improved progression-free survival and, in some indications, overall survival across several types of cancers by interrupting tumor angiogenesis. However, the clinical benefit conferred by these therapies is variable, and tumors from treated patients eventually reinitiate growth. Previously we demonstrated, in mouse tumor models, that galectin-1 (Gal1), an endogenous glycan-binding protein, preserves angiogenesis in anti-VEGF-resistant tumors by co-opting the VEGF receptor (VEGFR)2 signaling pathway in the absence of VEGF. However, the relevance of these findings in clinical settings is uncertain. Here, we explored, in a cohort of melanoma patients from AVAST-M, a multicenter, open-label, randomized controlled phase 3 trial of adjuvant bevacizumab versus standard surveillance, the role of circulating plasma Gal1 as part of a compensatory mechanism that orchestrates endothelial cell programs in bevacizumab-treated melanoma patients. We found that increasing Gal1 levels over time in patients in the bevacizumab arm, but not in the observation arm, significantly increased their risks of recurrence and death. Remarkably, plasma Gal1 was functionally active as it was able to reprogram endothelial cell biology, promoting migration, tubulogenesis, and VEGFR2 phosphorylation. These effects were prevented by blockade of Gal1 using a newly developed fully human anti-Gal1 neutralizing mAb. Thus, using samples from a large-scale clinical trial from stage II and III melanoma patients, we validated the clinical relevance of Gal1 as a potential mechanism of resistance to bevacizumab treatment.

Original publication




Journal article


Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A

Publication Date





angiogenesis, cancer therapy, galectin-1, inflammation, survival, Animals, Mice, Humans, Bevacizumab, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A, Galectin 1, Melanoma, Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized, Endothelial Cells, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors, Biology, Angiogenesis Inhibitors