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Cancer, a common malignant disease, is one of the predominant causes of diseases that lead to death. Additionally, cancer is often detected in advanced stages and cannot be radically cured. Consequently, there is an urgent need for reliable and easily detectable markers to identify and monitor cancer onset and progression as early as possible. Our aim was to systematically review the relevant roles of cathepsin K (CTSK) in various possible cancers in existing studies. CTSK, a well-known key enzyme in the bone resorption process and most studied for its roles in the effective degradation of the bone extracellular matrix, is expressed in various organs. Nowadays, CTSK has been involved in various cancers such as prostate cancer, breast cancer, bone cancer, renal carcinoma, lung cancer and other cancers. In addition, CTSK can promote tumor cells proliferation, invasion and migration, and its mechanism may be related to RANK/RANKL, TGF-β, mTOR and the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway. Clinically, some progress has been made with the use of cathepsin K inhibitors in the treatment of certain cancers. This paper reviewed our current understanding of the possible roles of CTSK in various cancers and discussed its potential as a biomarker and/or novel molecular target for various cancers.


Die Qian, Lisha He, Qing Zhang, Wenqing Li, Dandan Tang, Chunjie Wu, Fei Yang, Ke Li, Hong Zhang. Cathepsin K: A Versatile Potential Biomarker and Therapeutic Target for Various Cancers. Current oncology (Toronto, Ont.). 2022 Aug 22;29(8):5963-5987

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PMID: 36005209

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