Cysteine proteases and tumor progression

Summary

The levels, subcellular distribution and ratio to endogenous inhibitors of cathepsins B and L are frequently altered in tumors. In several cases, these alterations correlate with tumor progression from benign to malignant, which suggests that cysteine proteases may contribute to tumor progression. Analysis and inhibition of cysteine proteases may therefore be clinically applicable in cancer. Several groups have found that cathepsin B serves as a diagnostic and prognostic marker of tumor progression, whereas in vitro and in vivo studies have shown that cysteine protease inhibitors can reduce tumor cell invasion and metastasis in some systems. Thus, cysteine proteases may prove to be an important target for therapeutic interventions aiming at reducing tumor metastasis.

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Berquin, I.M., Sloane, B.F. Cysteine proteases and tumor progression. Perspectives in Drug Discovery and Design 2, 371–388 (1995). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02172031

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Key words

  • Cancer
  • Prognostic markers
  • Cathepsins
  • Metastasis
  • Angiogenesis