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Cancer Cell. 2004 May;5(5):409-10.

Cysteine cathepsins (proteases)--on the main stage of cancer?

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  • 1Jozef Stefan Institute, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Jamova 39, SI-1000, Ljubljana, Slovenia.


Cysteine cathepsins are involved in degradation of extracellular matrix, facilitating growth, invasion, and metastasis of tumor cells, in tumor angiogenesis, in apoptosis, and in events of inflammatory and immune responses. In this issue of Cancer Cell, demonstrate association of increased cathepsins activity with angiogenic vasculature and invasive fronts of carcinomas during tumorigenesis in transgenic mouse models using activity-based chemical probes and in vivo imaging. Moreover, this study shows that a broad-spectrum cysteine cathepsin inhibitor effectively blocks several stages of tumorigenesis in the RIP1-Tag2 transgenic mouse model, offering new therapeutic opportunities in cancer treatment.

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