Clinical & Experimental Metastasis

, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 91–106

Cathepsin D expression levels in nongynecological solid tumors: Clinical and therapeutic implications

Authors

    • Section of Chemotherapy, Department of OncologyPoliclinico Universitario `P. Giaccone'
  • Francesca M. Tumminello
    • Section of Chemotherapy, Department of OncologyPoliclinico Universitario `P. Giaccone'
  • Marilena Crescimanno
    • Section of Chemotherapy, Department of OncologyPoliclinico Universitario `P. Giaccone'
  • Carla Flandina
    • Section of Chemotherapy, Department of OncologyPoliclinico Universitario `P. Giaccone'
  • Nicola Gebbia
    • Section of Chemotherapy, Department of OncologyPoliclinico Universitario `P. Giaccone'
Article

DOI: 10.1023/B:CLIN.0000024740.44602.b7

Cite this article as:
Leto, G., Tumminello, F.M., Crescimanno, M. et al. Clin Exp Metastasis (2004) 21: 91. doi:10.1023/B:CLIN.0000024740.44602.b7

Abstract

Cathepsin D is a lysosomal acid proteinase which is involved in the malignant progression of breast cancer and other gynecological tumors. Clinical investigations have shown that in breast cancer patients cathepsin D overexpression was significantly correlated with a shorter free-time disease and overall survival, whereas in patients with ovarian or endometrial cancer this phenomenon was associated with tumor aggressiveness and a degree of chemoresistance to various antitumor drugs such as anthracyclines, cis-platinum and vinca alkaloids. Therefore, a lot of research has been undertaken to evaluate the role and the prognostic value of cathepsin D also in other solid neoplasms. However, conflicting results have been generated from these studies. The discrepancies in these results may, in part, be explained with the different methodological approaches used in order to determine the levels of expression of the enzyme in tumor tissues and body fluids. Further investigations using well-standardized techniques may better define the clinical significance of cathepsin D expression in solid tumors. Nevertheless, evidence emerging from these studies indicates that this proteinase seems to facilitate early phases of tumor progression such as cell proliferation and local dissemination. These findings support the concept that cathepsin D may be a useful marker for identifying patients with highly malignant tumor phenotypes who may need more aggressive clinical treatment; this enzyme may also be considered as a potential target for a novel therapeutic approach in the treatment of solid neoplasms.

cathepsin Dlysosomal proteinasesmatrix-metalloproteinasesmetastasisneoplasmplasminogen activatorprognosistumor progression

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004