Résumé : Protein (lectin)-carbohydrate interaction is supposed to be relevant for tumor cell behavior. The aims of the present work are to investigate whether galectin-1 modulates migration/invasion features in human gliomas in vitro, whether it can be detected in human gliomas immunohistochemically, and whether its expression is attributable to certain glioma subgroups with respect to invasion and prognosis. For this purpose, we quantitatively determined (by computer-assisted microscopy) the immunohistochemical expression of galectin-1 in 220 gliomas, including 151 astrocytic, 38 oligodendroglial, and 31 ependymal tumors obtained from surgical resection. We also xenografted three human glioblastoma cell lines (the H4, U87, and U373 models) into the brains of nude mice in order to characterize the in vivo galectin-1 expression pattern in relation to tumor invasion of the normal brain parenchyma. In addition, we characterized the role in vitro of galectin-1 in U373 tumor astrocyte migration and kinetics. Our data reveal expression of galectin-1 in all human glioma types with no striking differences between astrocytic, oligodendroglial, and ependymal tumors. The level of galectin-1 expression correlated with the grade in the group of astrocytic tumors only. Furthermore, immunopositivity of high-grade astrocytic tumors from patients with short-term survival periods was stronger than that of tumors from patients with long-term survivals. In human glioblastoma xenografts, galectin-1 was preferentially expressed in the more invasive parts of these xenografts. In vitro experiments revealed that galectin-1 stimulates migration of U373 astrocytes.