Matriptase and its putative role in cancer

Cell Mol Life Sci. 2006 Dec;63(24):2968-78. doi: 10.1007/s00018-006-6298-x.


Tumor progression and metastasis are the pathologic effects of uncontrolled or deregulated invasive growth, a process in which proteases play a fundamental role. They mediate the degradation of extracellular matrix components and intercellular cohesive structures to allow migration of the cells into the extracellular environment and activate growth and angiogenic factors. In addition to metalloproteases and the plasminogen activation system, another protease, matriptase, contributes substantially to these processes. Matriptase is a type II transmembrane trypsin-like serine protease that is expressed by cells of epithelial origin and is overexpressed in a variety of human cancers. It has been suggested that this protease not only facilitates cellular invasiveness but may also activate oncogenic pathways. This review summarizes current knowledge about matriptase, its putative role in tumor initiation and progression, and its potential as a novel target in anti-cancer therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Hepatocyte Growth Factor / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Plasminogen Activators / metabolism
  • Serine Endopeptidases / metabolism*
  • Serine Endopeptidases / physiology
  • Signal Transduction


  • Hepatocyte Growth Factor
  • Plasminogen Activators
  • Serine Endopeptidases
  • matriptase