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Virchows Arch. 1997 Mar;430(3):221-5.

Immunohistochemical and clinical evaluation of cathepsin expression in soft tissue sarcomas.

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Clinic of General Surgery, Martin-Luther-University of Halle-Wittenberg, Germany.


Lysosomal proteases are known to enhance the spread of epithelial tumour cells, but little is known of the possible role of proteases in the growth of soft tissue sarcomas (STS). We investigated the expression of cathepsins D, B, S, H, L and procathepsin L in frozen sections of 34 STS from 34 patients by immunohistochemistry (IHC). Cathepsins D, B and H were relatively highly expressed in STS (77-91%). The expression rate of cathepsins S and L and of procathepsin L was lower (40-66%). Cathepsin S and L expression showed a moderate (P = 0.078 and P = 0.019) and procathepsin L a strong (P = 0.00001) correlation with the survival rate of STS patients. Cathepsin S expression is also correlated with the local recurrence rate (P < 0.01). Lysosomal proteases may play a role in STS progression, and cathepsin expression may also have significance as a prognostic factor in STS.

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