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Enzyme Protein. 1996;49(1-3):94-105.

Cathepsin B: multiple enzyme forms from a single gene and their relation to cancer.

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Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI 48201, USA.


Overexpression and altered trafficking of cathepsin B characterize the malignant phenotype of tumor cells. Human cathepsin B is encoded by a single-copy gene located on chromosome 8p22. With its 13 exons, the gene encompasses at least 27 kb of DNA. Expression of cathepsin B can be regulated at transcriptional and posttranscriptional levels. Multiple cathepsin B mRNA species arising from alternative splicing may be related to tissue- and tumor-specific differences in expression. There is selective overexpression, increased activity, membrane association and secretion of cathepsin B in many etiologically different cancers. This suggests that cathepsin B may play a functional role in malignant progression. Recent clinical studies provide confirmatory evidence in that cathepsin B expression is a prognostic indicator in colon carcinoma.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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