Galectin-9 is a tandem-repeat type galectin with two carbohydrate-recognition domains, and it was first identified as an eosinophil chemoattractant and activation factor. Subsequent studies revealed that galectin-9, similar to other galectins, modulates a variety of biological functions including cell aggregation and adhesion, as well as apoptosis of tumor cells. Galectin-9 has recently been shown to have an anti-proliferative effect on cancer cells. Recent studies have uncovered additional mechanisms by which T cell immunoglobulin mucin-3 (Tim-3), a receptor for galectin-9, negatively regulates T cell responses by promoting CD8+ T cell exhaustion and inducing expansion of myeloid-derived suppressor cells. These mechanisms are involved in tumor growth and escape from immunity. In many solid cancers, the loss of galectin-9 expression is closely associated with metastatic progression, and treatment with recombinant galectin-9 prevents metastatic spread in various preclinical cancer models. Here, we review the biology and physiological role of galectin-9, and discuss the therapeutic potential of galectin-9 in cancer as well as relevant patents.