Potential Roles of Protease Inhibitors in Cancer Progression


Proteases are important molecules that are involved in many key physiological processes. Protease signaling pathways are strictly controlled, and disorders in protease activity can result in pathological changes such as cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases, cancer and neurological disorders. Many proteases have been associated with increasing tumor metastasis in various human cancers, suggesting important functional roles in the metastatic process because of their ability to degrade the extracellular matrix barrier. Proteases are also capable of cleaving non-extracellular matrix molecules. Inhibitors of proteases to some extent can reduce invasion and metastasis of cancer cells, and slow down cancer progression. In this review, we focus on the role of a few proteases and their inhibitors in tumors as a basis for cancer prognostication and therapy.