Many lectins can induce apoptosis and autophagy of cancer cells, hence possessing the potential of being anticancer compounds. Apoptosis-inducing lectins encompass galectins, C-type lectins, annexins, Haliotis discus lectin, Polygonatum odoratum lectin, mistletoe lectin, concanavalin-A, Rhamnose-binding lectin (Dicentrarchus labrax), and Strongylocentrotus purpuratus lectin. Autophagy inducing lectins include annexins and POL. Lectins bind specifically to cancer cell membranes or receptors, causing cytotoxicity, apoptosis, autophagy, and inhibition of tumor growth.
Mistletoe is a widely practiced immune therapy treatment of cancer patients in Europe, along with chemotherapy.