Evasion of immune surveillance is an accepted hallmark of tumor progression. The production of immune suppressive mediators by tumor cells is one of the major mechanisms of tumor immune escape. Galectin-1 (Gal-1), a pivotal immunosuppressive molecule, is expressed by many types of cancer. Tumor-secreted Gal-1 can bind to glycosylated receptors on immune cells and trigger the suppression of immune cell function in the tumor microenvironment, contributing to the immune evasion of tumors. The aim of this review is to summarize the current literature on the expression and function of Gal-1 in the human tumor microenvironment, as well as therapeutics targeting Gal-1.
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