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World J Gastroenterol. 2005 Jul 21;11(27):4225-9.

Evaluation of serum cathepsin B and D in relation to clinicopathological staging of colorectal cancer.

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Department of Analytical Chemistry, Medical University of Bialystok, Mickiewicza 2, 15-230 Bialystok, Poland.



Proteolytic degradation of the extracellular matrix facilitates cancer invasion and promotes metastasis. The study aims at evaluation of preoperative and postoperative serum cathepsins B and D levels in correlation with selected anatomoclinical features of colorectal cancer.


Blood samples were collected from 63 colorectal cancer patients before curative operation of the tumor 10 d later. Blood that was obtained from 20 healthy volunteers, served as a control. The activity of cathepsin B was measured with Bz-DL-arginine-pNA as a substrate at pH 6.0, while cathepsin D activity was determined with urea-denatured hemoglobin (pH 4.0).


The preoperative and postoperative activities of cathepsin B were significantly (P<0.00001) lower in serum of colorectal cancer patients than in control group. However, postoperative values of this protease were significantly increased in comparison with preoperative ones (P = 0.031). Activity of cathepsin D appeared to be significantly higher in colorectal cancer sera (P<0.00001) compared with controls. No statistically significant differences between preoperative and postoperative activity of cathepsin D were noted (P = 0.09). We revealed a strong linkage of cathepsins' levels with lymph node status and pT stage of colorectal cancer.


Blood serum activities of cathepsin B and D depend on the time of sampling, tumor size and lymph node involvement. Significantly, increased activity of cathepsin D could indicate a malignant condition of the large intestine. In our work, the serum postoperative decrease of cathepsin B activity appears as an obvious concomitant of local lymph node metastasis-the well-known clinicopathological feature of poor prognosis.

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