Cathepsins in digestive cancers

Siyuan Chen, Hui Dong, Shiming Yang and Hong Guo _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:41690-41700. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.16677

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Siyuan Chen1, Hui Dong1, Shiming Yang1 and Hong Guo1

1 Department of Gastroenterology, Xinqiao Hospital, Third Military Medical University, Chongqing, China

Correspondence to:

Hong Guo, email:

Keywords: cathepsin, digestive cancer, proliferation, migration, invasion

Received: January 18, 2017 Accepted: March 12, 2017 Published: March 29, 2017


Cathepsins are lysosomal peptidases belonging to the papain family, and based on their catalytic sites, these enzymes can be divided into serine, cysteine and aspartic proteases. The studies conducted to date have identified, 15 types of cathepsins that are widely distributed in intracellular and extracellular spaces. These proteases participate in various pathological activities, including the occurrence and development of human cancers. Several recent studies suggest that cathepsins, particularly cathepsins B, D, E and L, contribute to digestive tumorigenesis. Cathepsins were found to promote the development of most digestive cancers except liver cancer, in which they might have the opposite effects. Due to their important roles in digestive tumors, cathepsins might be therapeutic targets for the treatment of digestive cancers.

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