The role of proteolytic enzymes in the pathology of epithelial ovarian carcinoma

Int J Oncol. 1998 Mar;12(3):569-76. doi: 10.3892/ijo.12.3.569.


Epithelial ovarian cancer is the leading cause of death from gynecologic malignancy among North American women. The vast majority of women are diagnosed after the cancer has metastasized into the peritoneum, resulting in a low 5-year survival. Because of difficulties associated with early detection of ovarian carcinoma and the invasive potential of these malignancies, a more detailed understanding of the mechanism(s) by which ovarian carcinomas metastasize may suggest novel therapeutic approaches which could impact favorably on long-term survival. Connective tissue degrading proteinases are necessary for tumor cell invasion and enzymes in the plasminogen activator (PA) and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) families have been implicated in ovarian cancer metastasis. The goal of this review is to summarize current data regarding the role of these proteinases in ovarian carcinoma invasion.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma / enzymology*
  • Carcinoma / mortality
  • Carcinoma / pathology*
  • Endopeptidases / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Metalloendopeptidases / metabolism
  • Models, Biological
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / mortality
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Peritoneal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Peritoneal Neoplasms / secondary
  • Plasminogen Activators / metabolism*


  • Endopeptidases
  • Plasminogen Activators
  • Metalloendopeptidases