Résumé : The WHO classification of lymphomas was established on the basis of clinical, morphological, immunohistochemical and genetic criteria. However, each entity displays its own spectrum of clinical aggressiveness. Treatment success varies widely and is not predictable. Since galectins are involved in oncogenesis and the physiology of immune cells, we investigated whether galectin-1 and galectin-3 immunohistochemical expression could differ in 25 normal lymphoid tissues, 42 non-Hodgkins and 14 Hodgkins lymphomas. Immunohistochemical galectin expression was submitted to semi-quantitative and quantitative (computer-assisted microscopy) evaluations. This study is completed by an analysis (by means of quantitative RT-PCR) of galectin-3 mRNA expression in 3 normal lymph nodes, 3 follicular lymphomas (FLs) and 3 diffuse large B-cell lymphomas (DLBCLs). The data show that in normal lymphoid tissue, lymphocytes do not express galectin-1 and rarely express galectin-3. In contrast, galectin-3 was expressed in 8 of the 16 DLBCL cases and in 1 of the 8 FL cases. Furthermore, galectin-3 mRNA was expressed 3 times more in the DLBCLs than in the FLs. While the blood vessel walls of the lymphomas expressed galectin-1, the vessel walls of normal lymphoid tissues did not. This expression of galectin-1 in blood vessel walls was correlated with vascular density. The present study thus shows that DLBCL can be distinguished from normal lymphoid tissue and other lymphomas on the basis of galectin-3 expression.