Cathepsins are highly expressed in various human cancers, associated with tumor metastasis. It is superfamily, concluding A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, L, K, O, S, V, and W family members. As a group of lysosomal proteinases or endopeptidases, each member has a different function, playing different roles in distinct tumorigenic processes such as proliferation, angiogenesis, metastasis, and invasion. Cathepsins belong to a diverse number of enzyme subtypes, including cysteine proteases, serine proteases and aspartic proteases. The contribution of cathepsins to invasion in human cancers is well documented, although the precise mechanisms by which cathepsins exert their effects are still not clear. In the present review, the role of cathepsin family members in cancer is discussed.
Keywords: Cathepsin; Mechanism; Metastasis; Tumor.