- Members of the galectin family of endogenous lectins are involved in tumor growth regulation and in establishing characteristics of the malignant phenotype via protein–carbohydrate and protein–protein interactions. To identify peptide ligands with the potential to modulate these tumor-relevant interactions beneficially, complementary screening methods were employed, that is, both phage-display and a combinatorial pentapeptide library with the key YXY tripeptide core. Three representative prototype galectins were selected. The search for high-affinity ligands among phage-displayed random heptamers yielded enrichment after five selection cycles of the nonglycomimetic CQSPSARSC peptide in the case of the chicken homologue of galectin-1 but not the human protein, an indication for specificity. The most active glycomimetic from the combinatorial library of 5832 pentamers was WYKYW. Identification of peptide ligands for galectins with and without glycomimetic properties is thus possible. Our study documents the potential to combine the two library-based approaches for structural optimization of lead peptides.